Rape levels “show more must be done to change men’s attitudes”

Police are searching for the dead baby's mother
Police are searching for the dead baby's mother
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Rape levels recorded by police in England and Wales are at their highest ever level, official figures have revealed.

The number increased 29 per cent to 22,116 incidents in the year to June, the highest level recorded, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Statisticians said the rise was driven by an increase in the willingness to come forward and report the offences, dubbed the “Yewtree effect” after the Scotland Yard investigation into Jimmy Savile and others, as well as an improvement in police recording practices.

Within the figures, knifepoint rape surged 48 per cent, up to 294 from 199 the previous year, while knifepoint sexual assaults were up 22 per cent to 111 from 91.

Liz McKean, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “If the increase in reporting of rape to the police is due to survivors feeling more able to come forward and report what has happened to them, then that is positive.

“However, these statistics also show that we have enormous prevalence of rape in Britain and we still have a very long way to go to change the harmful attitudes and behaviours that underpin men’s violence towards women and girls.”

Home Office figures included with the release showed a five per cent increase in hate crime, with 44,480 incidents in the period, up from 42,236 the previous year.

Race hate crimes were up 84 per cent to 37,484 incidents and religious hate crimes were up five per cent to 2,273, which statisticians said was driven by higher levels of hate crime in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

There were 7.1 million incidents of crime against households and adults in England and Wales in the year, a 16 per cent decrease from 8.4 million the previous year, the ONS said.

In Yorkshire, three of the region’s four forces saw increases in recorded crime in the year to June compared to the previous 12 month period. Only West Yorkshire Police saw a drop, with 6,131 fewer victims of crime.