Coventry & Warwickshire

NHS report: Coventry has most rapes in West Midlands

Coventry had the most rapes per 100,000 of the population in the West Midlands, according to an NHS report.

The study shows there were 109 rapes reported in Coventry in 2007-8, which is 71.3 per 100,000 population - compared with a national rate of 42.5.

There were 10 locations across England with more rapes per 100,000 people, the report showed.

The study's author, John Forde from NHS Coventry, said: "It is grim, there's no getting away from that."

The report was commissioned by Coventry City Council.

Diane Whitfield, from Coventry's rape and sexual abuse advice centre (CRASAC), said: "Coventry is a very deprived city area and has a number of other issues.

"It also has two large universities with the key age range of the people we see having been attacked."

Regional figures for the West Midlands from the same report show the second highest number of reported rapes was in Stoke-on-Trent (66.8 per 100,000 population) and the lowest was in Shropshire (18.3).

'Unedifying findings'

Data collected for the report showed that assaults happened across a wide area of Coventry, but with a disproportionate number of offences in the city centre.

A significant number of serious sexual assaults affected children under the age of 16.

Mr Forde, the acting director of public health at NHS Coventry, said: "We undertook a needs assessment back in 2009 looking at local information and information from the British Crime Survey.

"Taking all those things into account we arrived at the findings, which are pretty unedifying."

He added that the figures might not tell the full story: "If anything there's an under reporting [of sexual crime] and we need to make sure local services are accessible and are friendly and are delivered in a sensitive way to encourage more women to come forward."

The research, which looked at a range of health indicators from HIV rates to births, also found teenage pregnancy rates in Coventry are the 10th highest in England.

The annual report has been submitted to the scrutiny board and was due to be discussed in a cabinet meeting of Coventry City Council on Tuesday.

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