Northamptonshire Rape Crisis to increase staff as rape figures soar to two a day in this county

Northamptonshire Rape Crisis members and campaigners pictured supporting 16 days of activism against gender-based violence at the Reclaim the Night march in town (file picture 2017).
Northamptonshire Rape Crisis members and campaigners pictured supporting 16 days of activism against gender-based violence at the Reclaim the Night march in town (file picture 2017).

More than 700 rapes have been recorded in Northamptonshire within one year, an increase of 30 per cent, according to a new report.

Police and crime panel figures show that rape crime has seen one of the biggest increases within 12 months, with 782 rapes recorded before October this year, amounting to two a day.

Northamptonshire Rape Crisis (NRC) is now planning to increase staffing levels and the number of counsellors they have delivering trauma-based therapy to cope with the increasing demand.

Dawn Thomas, CEO of NRC said: "However as a charity without long-term sustainable funding both locally and nationally, there is a risk that we simply can’t help everyone we need to and victims of sexual violence may effectively end up on a waiting list.

"We’re doing all we can to prevent this but the threat is very real.

"For many years now, Northamptonshire Rape Crisis has collaborated with Northamptonshire Police on prevention campaigns particularly around the Christmas period but prevention is everyone’s responsibility, starting in family homes, primary schools and secondary schools, where conversations about healthy relationships need to take place and continue from an early age."

The service opened its doors on March 5, 1986, and now has more than 30 counsellors helping women, and men, across the county.

It originally was set up to help women and girls who had experienced sexual violence, abuse and rape.

It is self-funded and the service is responsible for sourcing its own financial backing.

In 2005 the service expanded to include services for men and boys, and now provides services to women, men and children over 14 years old providing counselling, support, group work and a helpline.

NRC is free and acts independently from both health and police services, which means there is no pressure to report.

Dawn added: "The figures we’re seeing in Northamptonshire of approximately two cases of rape recorded every single day is shocking to say the least.

"When you consider that only 15 per cent of victims of rape or sexual violence report to the police, we’re actually looking at more like 11,000 women and girls between the ages of 16 and 59-years in Northamptonshire being assaulted each year.

"The number of recorded crimes of this nature is just the tip of the iceberg."

The charity has secured a three-year Children in Need grant and has recruited a Children’s worker (CHISVA) who will be contacting schools to understand how the organisation can work better with them before or if a crisis arises.