Northamptonshire among 10 highest places in country for rates of sexual attacks against women and girls
Police insist figures show victims feel confident enough and willing to report complaints in county
Northamptonshire is in the 10 highest places in the country for rates of sexual assaults and rapes reported against women and girls, according to the most up-to-date figures.
Following the shocking kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard, women have been sharing their safety fears and calling for measures to tackle male violence.
Statistics show the huge gender disparity for sexual assaults and rape nationally as well as the number of attacks recorded by police.
Northamptonshire Police insisted the high rates show victims in the county feel confident enough and willing to report their complaints.
Detective Superintendent Paul Rymarz said: “Northamptonshire Police takes every report of sexual assault or rape extremely seriously.
"We never underestimate the courage it takes to make a report like this, and do our utmost to both provide support and secure justice for victims."
In the 12 months to March 2020, 75.8 sexual assaults were recorded on females aged over 13 per 100,000 people in Northamptonshire - the fifth most in England.
For rapes against females aged over 16 in the county, there were 77.5 reported per 100,000, the eighth worst rate among all the country's police forces.
In total, 571 sexually assaults and 584 rapes against females were recorded in Northamptonshire - the equivalent to 1.6 a day.
That is compared to just 70 sexual assaults and 24 rapes against men.
Det Supt Rymarz said a large number of sexual assaults and rapes reported to the force are non-recent, meaning they happened 12 months or more before they were reported.
"We hope this represents a genuine trust in our force, that survivors of such crimes feel confident enough to come forward and report what has happened to them," he added.
The senior officer said they are committed to quality, victim-focused investigations of sexual offences.
In 2017, Northamptonshire Police created its first SOLAR sexual investigation team in the north of the county, and now also has a second SOLAR team covering the west.
These units are headed by Detective Inspectors, who lead up to 30 detectives, all dedicated to investigating serious sexual offences.
This represents a significant financial investment in this area of policing, illustrating just how seriously we take the issue, Det Supt Rymarz added.
Katie Russell, from Rape Crisis England and Wales, said violence against women and girls is a 'global pandemic that long pre-exists covid' but the vast majority is never reported to police.
"The time for radical action is long overdue. We must come together as a society to end the narrative that tells women they are responsible for preventing male violence, and instead tell perpetrators and potential perpetrators that we will not tolerate violence against women and girls any longer," she added.
Northamptonshire Police is rated as ‘good’ at recording all sexual offences by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.
Det Supt Rymarz said they are also proud of its crime data integrity recording ethics.
“As a force, we are committed to safeguarding victims of sexual offences, investigating and bringing offenders to justice," he said.
"If you have been the victim of a sexual offence, regardless of when it happened, we want you to report it to us – we will believe you, we can help you.
"There’s no place in our society for those who commit such offences and we do all we can to put these criminals behind bars.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said investment from his office has helped Northamptonshire Police to strengthen the response and investigation to sexual offences and domestic abuse.
“I am also the victims’ commissioner and our victims’ service, Voice, provides specialist support for victims of sexual crimes and domestic abuse, and we also host the rape crisis service in the same building to ensure that victims are given the best, most joined-up service that we can," he said.