Women’s Week: Rapes reports in Ipswich hit three-year high

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, head of Suffolks protecting vulnerable people directorate.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, head of Suffolks protecting vulnerable people directorate. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The shocking prevalence of rape in Ipswich has been uncovered in an EADT and Star investigation.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: SUFFOLK PCC

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: SUFFOLK PCC - Credit: Archant

New data released by Suffolk Constabulary following a Freedom of Information request shows reports have hit a three-year high.

In 2017, 232 rapes were recorded in the town, rising from 143 the previous year and 204 in 2015.

The vast majority of victims were female, the figures show.

More than 170 of these assaults took place in a domestic premises, while 104 happened in a public place.


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The location of the other rapes was not recorded.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, head of Suffolk’s protecting vulnerable people directorate, said: “There are many factors that influence the level of crime reporting for sexual violence offences, and the local trend is in line with the national picture. Increasing society empathy for victims, positively influenced by the media and support groups, has resulted in more confidence for those coming forward to speak out against abusers.”

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Investment in training, specialist teams and technology means officers are better able to identify and investigate crimes of this nature, Mr Bridger said.

He added: “The constabulary will continue to thoroughly investigate offences of rape and serious sexual offences and ensure that available evidence is collected and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service, ultimately bringing offenders to justice. It should be remembered that this is one form of positive outcome for a victim and we strive to ensure the voice of the victim is heard throughout investigations whilst providing consistency of public service.”

Mr Bridger said crimes committed behind closed doors were often tricky to investigate due to lack of evidence.

During the past three years, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has allocated significant sums of cash to improving officers’ response to sexual offences and support for victims.

He said: “I really hope this extra focus on staffing levels within the constabulary and the additional support services for victims is giving them the confidence they need to speak out – either to the police or to support agencies such as Suffolk Rape Crisis.

“Anything we can do to increase reporting must be a good thing as sadly so many of these terrible crimes are still not reported.”

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