Rise in Suffolk rape reports

RAPE allegations in Suffolk rose by 21% last year with 258 alleged attacks compared to 213 in 2008, according to police figures.

However, senior officers believe increased victim confidence is one of the main reasons for the rise.

Chief Inspector Neil Luckett said 74% more offences were detected last year than the year before and, of those, there was a 83% conviction rate.

The force’s figures show reports of child rape increased by 15% year-on-year from 74 in 2008 to 85 in 2009. There was also a 27% surge in allegations of rapes on women aged over 16 with 167 people contacting police last year.

Police stress all allegations are thoroughly investigated, with great sensitivity being shown to the victim.

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However, on occasions officers do have to deal with vulnerable people who make multiple allegations. Over the past two years the constabulary said 17 individuals have made two rape complaints, four have made three, one has made four, while another has made five.

Ch Insp Luckett, who is the lead officer for rape complaints in Suffolk, said: “Where we have somebody, perhaps making repeated allegations which are proved not to have happened, we ask why they reported it. If someone makes an allegation there is going to be a reason.

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“On occasions, probably around 15% of allegations, we have additional evidence to say the crime has not happened. That doesn’t mean to say the victim doesn’t get the same level of investigation and same level of support.”

Police are at pains to point out that the vast majority of rapes occur between people known to each other. Drink often plays a part in certain types of cases, but stranger rape remains very rare.

Over the past year there have been a significant number of court cases and reports involving historic rape allegations.

Officers believe rape victims, in general, feel increasingly reassured about how they will be treated and this has led to more coming forward.

Ch Insp Luckett said: “We see it as a positive move. We think people have more confidence around reporting and that’s come with better understanding and better reporting by us of what’s actually happened.

“We now have dedicated teams that investigate rape and specially-trained officers to deal with the victims.”

Later this year Suffolk is to get a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) as it tries to provide more support for victims.

Suffolk Rape Crisis is also due to be launched in Ipswich and is currently looking for female volunteers. If you can help telephone 07930 827083.

To report a rape telephone Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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