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Friday, 20 June 2014

Rapes increase by quarter in Scotland

Written by The Editorial Team

Reported rapes have increased by nearly a quarter while sexual assaults overall have risen by a tenth in the last year, Police Scotland figures show.

There were 1,690 reported rapes in 2013/14, up from 1,372 the previous year, while overall reported sexual assaults rose 11% to 8,604 from 7,693.

A large number of the sexual assaults can be attributed to an increase in reporting by victims, and a rise in historical victims coming forward which may have been driven by the high-profile celebrity sex crime cases of the last year, Police Scotland said.

However, there has been a "modest" increase in the number of rapes both committed and reported this year of 59, police said.

Detective Superintendent Louise Raphael (pictured), chair of the police rape and sexual crime external advisory group, described the rise in reporting of historical rapes as "extremely encouraging", at a briefing at Police Scotland HQ in Tulliallan.

"We regard it as being very positive and as a starting point to make further headway," she said.

"Our detection rates continue to increase and is currently 71.8%, 10 percentage points more than the previous year."

She added: "There is quite a modest increase in the number of rapes that were committed and reported in the same year.

"The greatest increase that we have seen relates to those historic crimes a year or more old and those committed in a domestic environment which accounted for around a third."

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said: "There has been a number of high profile celebrity issues that have come in in the UK.

"I think that has made victims of rape realise that there isn't a statute of limitation on reported rape, and also convinced people that the criminal justice system is interested in this kind of thing and will actually deal with it."

None of the reported historical rapes are thought to be linked directly to the inquiry into the crimes of Jimmy Savile, who had a house in Glencoe, Sir Stephen said.

"Stranger rapes", where the attacker is not known to the victim, have remained steady at around 5%, he said.

He added: "We had a spate of attacks in or near Glasgow city centre and we have made two arrests, and the other investigations are still live."

Meanwhile, there has also been a 14% increase in deaths on the road of 24, taking the total number of deaths to 191.

Superintendent Iain Murray, Police Scotland head of road policing, said: "The greatest percentage increase in term of adults was from motorcycling (an increase of 10 people) and cycling (an increase of four people), both of which saw a 50% increase in casualties."