Record number of 63,000 rapes reported to police since murder of Sarah Everard last year

27 January 2022, 13:16 | Updated: 27 January 2022, 13:28

Police forces in England and Wales have recorded a "disturbing" 63,136 rapes
Police forces in England and Wales have recorded a "disturbing" 63,136 rapes. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A record number of rapes and sexual offences have been reported to police in the last year, official figures revealed today.

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Police forces in England and Wales have recorded a "disturbing" 63,136 rapes in the year to September, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics [ONS].

This was the highest recorded annual figure to date, up 13 per cent from the previous year, and made up for 37 per cent of all sexual offences recorded by police.

The ONS said figures show "noticeable increases since April 2021" following the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in March.

The 33-year-old was attacked and killed by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, prompting a national debate about sexual violence, the safety of women and the response from government, police and prosecutors.

Figures also revealed London rape reports totalled 8,406, only ten short of the all time high for the capital, which was registered in 2019.

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A total of 22,026 sexual offences were reported in the capital.

Responding to the statistics, Liberal Democrat Justice and Women and Equalities Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: "These appalling figures lay bare the disturbing truth that violence against women is endemic in our society.

"Survivors deserve justice. They deserve to be properly supported to come forward and be listened to when they do. What they don't deserve is to be failed by a Government that sits on its hands and allows far too many violent predators to walk free without facing the consequence of their actions.

"Wholesale changes are needed across the board to ensure survivors get the justice they need. That starts with better relationships and sex education in schools and must be followed through with more training and resources for police forces and the courts."

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But the ONS urged caution when interpreting the data saying they may reflect a "number of 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".

The highest number of sexual offences was also recorded in the 12 months to September at 170,973, a 12 per cent increase compared to the the previous year.

The ONS added: "The overall trend is also currently difficult to disentangle from the impact of lockdowns. Offences recorded by the police dropped noticeably during the spring 2020 lockdown before rebounding to previous levels in the July to September 2020 quarter.

"The winter 2020 to 2021 lockdowns saw a smaller reduction in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police but a greater level of increase in these offences in the subsequent quarters."