THE new Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner has called for an overhaul of the entire criminal justice system so victims of rape and sexual violence are better served by Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner.

New research has revealed that a fraction of victims report the crime to the police. The research, by the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Office of National Statistics, found up to 95,000 women and men are raped each year, but an average of only 15,670 incidents were reported to police. It also found nearly 500,000 people were victims of sexual offences, but only 54,000 were reported.

Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “These figures are shocking. They show just how much more needs to be done to ensure that victims of this terrible crime can have the confidence to come forward.

“Rape has a devastating effect on people’s lives and it is so important that victims feel they can access help and support — and have their physical and emotional needs met.”

Victims of rape and sexual assault in Bolton, and across Greater Manchester, are taken to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

Mr Lloyd said: “Victims are treated with dignity and respect, and support is given to help them rebuild their lives, even if they don’t want to take the difficult step of reporting the crime. “But these figures are a stark challenge to the entire criminal justice system.

“Victims have already gone through what is likely to be the worst experience of their lives. The system should not prolong that suffering and at every stage must be focused on the victim.”

The commissioner has now vowed to be a “voice for victims” and will fight to have the justice system changed.

Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can get specialist help and support from St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515.

Victims should also report the crime to polic but any victim who gets help from St Mary’s is not obliged to report it.