Rise in sexual assaults in Suffolk

Stock image.

Suffolk police has revealed how many reports of sexual assault have been received (file photo)

There were more than 2,250 reports of sexual assault offences in Suffolk last year - up from 1,500 in 2016.

The highest number of reports came in 2019 when Suffolk police dealt with 2,515 allegations, while the number for pandemic-hit 2020 fell slightly to 2,270.

Both of these figures are considerably higher than the 1,542 sexual assault claims made in 2016.

The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, also revealed there had been 542 arrests in connection with sexual assault in Suffolk in 2019, with the figure for 2020 at 503.

Police arrested 463 people after receiving reports of sexual assault in 2016.

The figures also revealed there has been a rise in the number of incidents where suspects were not identified as alleged victims were unwilling to support police in their investigations.

In 2016, Suffolk police confirmed 72 sexual assault crimes had been committed but were unable to charge a suspect as officers experienced evidential difficulties.

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That number rose to 237 for 2019 and dropped slightly to 219 in 2020.

Detective Superintendent Jeff Yaxley, of Suffolk police, said: "Suffolk Constabulary and its partners are committed to delivering professional and empathetic services to the victims of serious sexual offences.

"There has been significant investment in investigators and support services across the county and the Constabulary investment is now greater than ever.

"Our Safeguarding Investigation Units deal with reports of rape and serious sexual offences. These officers will often be the first to attend a live report. Furthermore, we have a 24-hour accessible sexual assault referral centre facility with trained staff to provide the highest level of service to the victims of these crimes.

"In addition, all of Suffolk’s front-line officers receive training to deal with victims of sexual assault/violence and possess the necessary competencies to provide a high level of service to victims. They are equipped with the knowledge and skills regarding forensic recovery, victim safeguarding and the SARC process.

"There is strong support to the response from Independent Sexual Violence Advisors work alongside the police and other agencies to provide specialist support to the victims of these crimes."

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