Number of rape claims across Cleveland double during five year period as victims become more willing to make reports

Hartlepool Police Station.
Hartlepool Police Station.

The number of recorded rapes against children and adults across Cleveland has more than doubled in the last five years.

The figures have been revealed as part of an inspection into how the allegations are dealt with by police forces across the country as work is carried out to improve how they are handled and investigated.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) say rises may not be due to a increase in crimes, but can be down to how police record crimes or that victims now have a better understanding that a crime has been committed and more confident about reporting it.
Publicity surrounding the Jimmy Savile inquiry and historic attacks such as those probed through Operation Yewtree is also thought to have had an impact.
Statistics show that in the financial years 2010/11, 95 adult rapes were recorded, with the same number recorded against children.
Of those, 32 of the adult cases and eight of the children’s went on to be classes as transferred or cancelled crimes, where officers have found information which determines no crime has been committed or for administration reasons, such as the details of the crime have been duplicated.
The latest figures show in the last year, 208 cases were recorded against adults, and 120 were against children.
Women accounted for 95% of the adult cases, while 80% of those involving children were against girls under 16, with 13 of the adult incidents transferred or cancelled and none of the children’s were.

During 2010, 50 prosecutions took place and 12 resulted in convictions, and in 2014, 31 prosecutions were held and 11 resulted in convictions.
Cleveland’s Detective Chief Superintendent Peter McPhillips said: “Historically, the majority of victims have not reported rape and sexual violence.
“Cleveland Police has worked with partners to increase the confidence of victims in order that they can come forward.
“This has contributed to the rise in reported rape offences.
“Additionally, the national high-profile investigations into prominent individuals has resulted in increased reporting of historic sexual offences within the Cleveland area.
“The HMIC inspected the force in June 2014, which resulted in a number of recommendations around our reporting processes.
“We are now confident that we actively record all sexual violence offences and this is reflected in the report that has been published today.
“As a force, we recognise how important it is for a victim to feel trust in the system.
“We work with partner agencies to ensure positive outcomes for victims, as sometimes their preference is to receive counselling and support rather than facing the prospects of the judicial process.
“Cleveland Police takes all reports of rape extremely seriously and investigates all incidents, no matter how long the passage of time.
“Victims of rape are encouraged to come forward and report it to police, where they will be fully supported by specially trained officers and partner agencies.”
Chairman of the Rape Monitoring Group, Wendy Williams of the HMIC, said: “This data provides a starting point to allow people - from the public to police and crime commissioners - to scrutinise how rape is dealt with in their area, and ask important questions of the local criminal justice services.
“It does however need to be treated carefully; the data is collected by different organisations, in different ways and for slightly different time periods.
“For instance, a high number of reported rapes in one of the 42 areas might indicate that victims are more willing to report rape, rather than a particularly high rate of rapes for instance.
“Without data which allows direct comparisons, we can’t see what good or bad practice currently exists and it is not possible to track the progress of individual cases of rape through the criminal justice system.
“The Rape Monitoring Group regularly reviews these digests to try to enhance the quality and quantity of the information so that the right questions can be asked.
“In the meantime this data provides a platform for further discussion.”
The monitoring group brings together the National Police Chiefs’ Council, College of Policing, Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Home Office, local policing bodies, Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, Ministry of Justice and voluntary sector partners.