England and Wales child rape cases up 37% in five years

Unidentified child victim Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Less than a third of child rapes cases lead to suspects being charged or summonsed

Reports of child rape to police in England and Wales have risen by 37% over the last five years, figures show.

There were 5,674 recorded cases of child rape in 2009/10 and 7,775 cases in 2013/14, said Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

But less than a third of child rapes cases lead to suspects being charged or summonsed, according to the figures.

Recorded adult rapes rose 38% from 9,383 in 2009/10 to 12,952 in 2013/14 according to the report.

About a fifth of adult cases lead to suspects being charged or summonsed.

Child rape cases ending in charges/summons 2013/14

  • Northumbria: 83 (47% of reports)
  • Wiltshire: 41 (43% of reports)
  • Cambridgeshire: 47 (43% of reports)
  • Source: HMIC

The Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number of adult rapes per 100,000 people in 2013/14 with 3,056, while Dyfed-Powys was lowest with 62.

Image copyright PA
Image caption About a fifth of adult cases leading to suspects being charged or summonsed

The North Wales force recorded the highest number of child rape cases per 100,000 people with 144 in 2013/14 while Hertfordshire recorded the lowest number with 73.

Essex, Kent and Suffolk forces came bottom of the table of charges or summons for cases of child rape, with 21% of cases resulting in action.

Northumbria came top of the same table with 47% of cases seeing charges or a summons.

Child rape cases ending in charges/summons 2013/14

  • Suffolk: 15 (21% of reports)
  • Kent: 60 (21% of reports)
  • Essex: 48 (21% of reports)
  • Source: HMIC

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "These figures are extremely disturbing and a shocking indictment of the widening justice gap created by this government.

"Over the last four years, there has been a dire trend in recorded incidents of rape going up, but prosecutions and convictions going down.

"Rape and the sexual abuse of a child are some of the most abhorrent and heinous crimes. And victims deserve justice."

'Treated with dignity'

Crime prevention minister Lynne Featherstone said rape sentencing lengths were up and the total number of rape prosecutions in England and Wales was up, from 3,819 in 2009/10 to 3,891 in 2013/14.

"The coalition government is clear that every report of rape must be taken seriously, every victim must be treated with dignity and every investigation must be conducted thoroughly and professionally," she said.

"The increase in the number of rapes being reported to police is encouraging as it shows more victims are finding the courage to come forward."

Paul Ford, secretary of the Police Federation National Detectives' Forum, said: "Policing is under significant pressure through budget cuts and this is having an impact on the level of service that policing can provide to victims."

Image caption Number of child rapes recorded per 100,000 child population for 2013/14

Devon and Cornwall has one of the highest rates of recorded adult and child rape.

Yet only 15% of adult rape cases and 27% of child rape cases result in a charge or summons according to the figures.

The force's Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg said police performance on rape was under "regular review".

Fee Scott of Devon Rape Crisis said: "We will get a lot better outcomes if we believed people and we don't judge them on what they were wearing, doing, saying or drinking.

"All of that stops women coming forward because they are fearful of the reaction they will get from the authorities.

"This report gives a very depressing picture of what the outcome might be."

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