Rise in number of date rape cases

By James MortlockTHE number of date rape cases in East Anglia has risen, latest figures have revealed.The crime - officially known as drug-related rape - is claiming more victims every year, according to The Roofie Foundation, Britain's only specialised agency set up to deal with the issues surrounding the offence.

By James Mortlock

THE number of date rape cases in East Anglia has risen, latest figures have revealed.

The crime - officially known as drug-related rape - is claiming more victims every year, according to The Roofie Foundation, Britain's only specialised agency set up to deal with the issues surrounding the offence.

Its latest figures showed there were 170 cases of drug rape in 2002 across East Anglia - 48 more than in 2001.


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A spokesman for The Roofie Foundation said: “These figures show the crime is still on the increase - yet very few are ever reported to the police.

“Out of the numbers reported to us, less than 15% have officially been reported to the police. Also, due to the difficulty in gathering evidence, very few of those cases that are reported ever reach court.

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“Recently it has been acknowledged that rape is the most-under reported crime in Britain, we believe that drug rape is reported even less.”

Chip Somers, project manager of drug and alcohol group Focus, based in Bury St Edmunds, said it was important not to isolate date rape drugs as excessively dangerous when other substances combined with alcohol could be just as damaging.

“A mixture of drink and drugs are being used on a regular basis every weekend by young people throughout Suffolk, with people becoming involved in inappropriate sexual relationships through this misuse,” he added.

“It is a mistake to isolate date rape drugs as people should be vigilant about misusing alcohol and any drug in excessive quantities.

“Young women are the largest group of people misusing alcohol throughout the UK and the message is that they should be careful about how they are consuming it.

“People should be careful about how much they drink, who they drink with and how they physically drink it. They should always keep an eye on their glasses or bottles and make sure they are not drinking with strangers.”

The Roofie Foundation spokesman said the only way to fight date rape was to educate the public with campaigns to instigate safe drinking policies.

Its advice included urging people to plan their night out, make sure someone knows where they are and what time they are expected home and nominate a designated “drinks watcher”.

The foundation also urged people to never accept drink from people whom they do not trust, not to share or exchange drinks and to always drink from a bottle as it is far more difficult to “drop a drug” into a bottle than into a glass.

james.mortlock@eadt.co.uk

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