Sexual offences recorded by police reaches new high

Sexual Offences Police concept
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham In: Criminal Defence

According to new data from the Official for National Statistics (ONS), the number of sexual offences recorded by the police has reached a new high.

Police-recorded sexual offences reached their highest level in a 12-month period (183,587) in the year to December 2021. That figure represented a 22 per cent increase compared to 2020 (150,748) and a 13 per cent increase on the 2019 figure (163,067).

Lockdown played a part in the lower figure during 2020 as the number of all crimes recorded decreased with people having to spend long periods in their homes. However, there has been a substantial increase since April 2021.

Over a third (37 per cent) of sexual offences recorded were rapes, with 67,125 offences logged by the police. This was a 21 per cent increase from the 55,592 offences in the 12 months to December 2020.

The ONS said the latest statistics may reflect are down to several factors including the “impact of high-profile incidents, media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police, as well as a potential increase in the number of victims”.

Whilst separate research has revealed the proportion of suspects being taken to court has fallen to a new record low and remains the lowest for rape cases.

Overall police-recorded violence increased by 13 per cent from 1,780,556 to 2,017,307 in the year ending December 2021, compared with the previous year.

There were 895,782 offences (not including fraud crimes) flagged as domestic abuse-related in 2021, representing a 7 per cent increase from 839,376 offences in the previous year and a 20 per cent increase from 746,219 offences in the 12 months to March 2019.

Stalking and harassment rose by 19 per cent, from 564,591 offences recorded by police in 2020 to 673,129 in 2021.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said: “We are seriously concerned that sexual offences have reached a record high for the second year in a row.

 “Tackling this insidious violence needs to be the government’s top priority, alongside ensuring all victims are treated with respect and given support to recover.”

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