World Incidents

Reports of rape more than doubled in three years

Figures obtained show the number of rape cases being reported to the police in Wales is on the rise, with three forces saying the numbers more than doubled in three years. Despite this, many alleged victims say they have chosen not to report for fear of not being believed.

  • Number of rape offences reported to police:

Dyfed-Powys:

2016/17 – 280

2014/15 – 107

2013/14 – 121

Gwent:

2017 – 283

2014 – 114

North Wales:

2017 – 779

2014 – 401

South Wales:

2017 – 1004

2014 – 465

Whilst police forces in the UK are routinely required to provide these statistics, the way in which they’re recorded are not necessarily the same between each force.

Two years ago, ‘Anna’ (not her real name) says her drink was spiked on a night out with friends in Aberystwyth. Her memory of what happened next was a blur.

I woke up and I was just lying in my own vomit… I turned around and there was a naked guy lying behind me. I didn’t know him. I couldn’t remember meeting him. I didn’t know who he was.

The first thing I did when I walked out the door was ring my mum. My mum was like, you need to go to the hospital and then you need to go straight to the police station and I think that’s when I realised what had happened.

– ‘ANNA’

Anna says she was raped that night, but she decided not to report it:

I felt like it would be easier to not do it, to not report it, to not have him arrested, to not have people messaging me saying you’re a liar.

I thought that I could run away from it but I couldn’t so I went to a doctor and got referred to mental health and found out that I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I’ve been through bad relationships, not being able to be in a relationship, not being able to trust people, falling out with my family. I got to a stage where I couldn’t even answer the door.

He probably hasn’t thought about it since then but I’ve thought about it pretty much every day and it’s affected every single part of my life.

– ‘ANNA’

Dyfed-Powys Police say it is “never too late” to report a sexual assault.

We will listen to victims, support them and believe them.

Help us to help you get justice for what you have been through and prevent the offender from hurting anyone else…

We know reporting to police and the process of going through the courts must seem a very daunting prospect but we have specialist officers in place to help.

– DCI JAYNE BUTLER, DYFED-POWYS POLICE

Nazir Afzal is an expert in the legal areas of violence against women and sexual exploitation. He has worked on high profile cases and is now an advisor to the Welsh Government.

Nazir Afzal

Rape is probably one of the most difficult offences for somebody to report but also one of the most difficult offences to prosecute and I think all the figures suggest that a small proportion of this type of crime ends up with the offender being convicted. So there’s been a significant effort over the last decade or so to make it easier for a victim to report and also for the victim to go through the process you have to go through because of course there has to be a fair trial. You can’t simply assume guilt, you’ve got to test that evidence in a courtroom.

– NAZIR AFZAL, WELSH GOVERNMENT ADVISOR

But it’s not just an issue for the courts, Assembly Member Leanne Wood says sexual assault is an “endemic” problem.

She has helped launch a network with organisations across Wales to tackle sexual harassment and assault.

I think it’s not just a problem related to Wales. This is a global problem and I think at base it’s linked to the way we as a society view women and the role of women. I think organisation’s complaints procedures have been found wanting. I’m still looking for a textbook good complaints procedure that will enable people to come forward without the fears that they currently have. I’ve yet to find that but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We will certainly keep looking and if it doesn’t exist we’ll try to shape such a procedure ourselves.

– LEANNE WOOD AM, PLAID CYMRU

Despite her experiences, Anna says she’s feeling positive about the future.

I’m feeling really strong and feeling proud of who I am and what I’m achieving.

I want to be able to go and do well and prove that even when something awful and life changing happens in the end you’re stronger and it’s just something you overcome.

– ‘ANNA’

To report a sexual assault call police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency).

The NHS Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre freephone helpline is: 0808 802 9999. It is open 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year, providing support for female survivors, partners, family and friends.

The Mankind organisation offers support for men who have been sexually abused. Their helpline is: 01273 911680.

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