Spike in sex abuse reports in Ipswich down to more victims coming forward

Police guard the scene of an alledged sexual assault in Sherrington Road, Ipswich.

Police guard the scene of an alledged sexual assault in Sherrington Road, Ipswich.

Suffolk police have praised the bravery of sexual abuse victims in Ipswich who have come forward to report sex crimes, following a spike in reports this year.

In the first eight months of this year, 140 sexual offences were reported to police in Ipswich – almost triple the average of 54 over the previous three years, and included 36 rapes.

However, the spike in reports is understood to be reflective of high profile media cases helping historic abuse victims to come forward and report the crime – a trend police say has been seen across Suffolk and nationally.

Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Morgan, said: “This is a real positive step forward as respective persons have the confidence in reporting these offences to the police.

“In many cases they are historic offences involving children that require sensitive and thorough enquiries to be carried out in order to proceed to prosecution, and it is only now, in the wake of these disclosures and other high profile cases, that individuals have found the confidence to talk to police about what happened.”

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For Suffolk Rape Crisis, which provides free care and support for victims of sexual abuse, reports across Suffolk have increased by an estimated 100% this year alone, with more than 200 people accessing help through the organisation’s helpline or specialist counselling services.

Polly Kane, project co-ordinator for Suffolk Rape Crisis, said: “We have seen a huge increase in demand for our services.

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“Behind every report of sexual violence and abuse is a person requiring support, so it is an encouraging trend that people are coming forward.”

Now, both police and Suffolk Rape Crisis are keen to see more offenders prosecuted.

DCI Morgan said: “We have, and continue to, increase resources in this priority area of investigation and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice while providing a professional, supportive and caring service to those who have suffered such crimes.”

Ms Kane added: “It’s really important there are as few barriers as possible because seeking help is a massively brave decision, and we would love to see more of their abusers brought to justice.”

For more information on sexual abuse services, call Suffolk Rape Crisis on 0800 085 0520.

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