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New figures reveal record levels of sexual crime in Scotland

New figures released today show record levels of sexual crime

Key figures:

· Reported rape increased by 22% in 2017/18 compared to the previous year

· Reported rape & attempted rapes have increased by 99% since 2010

· In at least 40% of reported sexual offences, the complainer was under 18.

New figures released today by the Scottish Government show record levels of sexual crime being reported to the police. This includes a 22% increase in the number of rapes being reported to the police.

Rape Crisis Scotland’s Sandy Brindley commented:

“Reported sexual crime across Scotland is now at a record level. New figures released today by the Scottish Government show that recorded levels of rape and attempted rape have increased by 99% since 2010. Rape is a particularly underreported crime, which means that it hard to tell how much of this increase is due to people having more confidence in coming forward, and how much is due to more sexual crime being committed.

What we do know is that our services are seeing unprecedented levels of demand, with more and more people coming forward to seek support. Some people are looking for support for incidents that happened recently, others about something that happened many years ago. No matter when it happened, rape crisis services across Scotland can provide free and confidential support.”

“More needs to be done to ensure that people who do have the confidence to report rape or sexual assault don’t end up feeling let down or re-victimised by the justice process. We also need to tackle the root causes of sexual violence by investing in primary prevention work around consent and healthy relationships”.

Rape Crisis Scotland has previously backed calls from the Lord President, Lord Carloway, for rape complainers to not have to give evidence in court. Evidence - include cross examination - should be pre-recorded closer to the time of the incident/s. This would reduce trauma and enable complainers to give better evidence while retaining the right of the accused to test evidence. In our recent evidence to the Justice Committee on the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill, https://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/publications/RCSJustice-CommitteeevidenceVulnWitBillSept18.docx Rape Crisis Scotland called for the bill to be amended to extend the presumption of pre-recording of evidence to adult complainers of sexual offences.

Rape Crisis Scotland coordinates a prevention programme working with young people across Scotland on issues of consent and healthy relationships. We are currently working with young people in around half of the schools in Scotland. More information here: https://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/news/news/sexual-violence-prevention-project-evaluation/

The new recorded crime figures can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/09/2051

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