Number of rapes reported to police in Bolton doubles in a year - because of Jimmy Savile scandal
RAPES reported to police in Bolton have more than doubled in the last year.
Between June, 2012, and the end of July this year, 93 rape allegations were made to officers, compared to just 37 in the same period a year earlier.
But police stressed the increase was a result of more people reporting rapes, rather than an increase in crimes.
Leading rape case police officer Det Insp Damian Simpson, of Bolton’s serious sexual offences unit, said: “The rape unit was set up last year and I believe people are getting the confidence to come forward, rather than there being more people being raped.
“More people are getting arrested for rape.”
He added that the increase is due to a spike in historic sex abuse cases being reported in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the high profile arrests of celebrities on sex assault charges.
Det Insp Simpson said: “The Jimmy Savile investigation and Stuart Hall being jailed have given people the courage to come forward.
“It opened the floodgates as people have suffered in silence but have come forward since the high profile cases.”
He added that historic reports, which are rapes dating back more than a year, have included allegations from 50 years ago.
Det Insp Simpson added: “There is always something we can prove a case with, even when there are no forensics. A historic report will be investigated exactly the same as a recent one.”
But charity Rape Crisis said the actual number of rapes in Bolton was likely to be higher as many are unreported and of those that are reported, only a small percentage reach court.
Jo Wood, Trustee of Rape Crisis, said: “Rape victims receive a life sentence when they are raped. This sentence is compounded by the fact that few rapes are reported to the police and only a small percentage of those reported ever reach court. Of those that do reach court, the conviction rate is still pathetically low.
“The commonly reported stranger down a dark alley raping an unknown woman is a myth — victims almost always know their rapists.
“Unaddressed sexual violence has long-reaching and life-destroying effects as victims incubate their pain, their grief and their self blame.
“Society throws so many bricks at victims and myths are common. All of this tells victims that they must have done something to ‘get themselves raped’.”
She added: “At a Rape Crisis Centre, we believe you without question, we listen to you without judgement and we work to your agenda, addressing your needs and working with you to help you through the emotions and coping mechanisms that are preventing you from moving on.
“If you have been a victim of sexual violence at any time in your life — it is never too late to seek help.”
The majority of reported incidents in Bolton — 58 per cent — named the rapist as an acquaintance of the alleged victim.
This could range from people known through friends, over Facebook or that they met through a dating site.
Fourteen per cent of those who reported rapes were classed as victims of “stranger rapes”— but only two of those alleged attackers remain unidentified.
Unknown rapes can include people who are strangers to the victim but who may have been invited back to their home after a night out.
Det Insp Simpson said: “Bolton has a busy night time economy. People get a little bit more laid back when they have had a few drinks. Alcohol does have a big impact.
“Some people are not certain of events from the night. Some people drink too much and don’t realise what they are doing.”
Three per cent of the rapes reported between June last year and July, 2013, did not happen and police say they will prosecute anyone who maliciously makes an allegation.
Jade Leech, aged 21, of Barsham Drive, Deane, was jailed in June for 12 months for perverting the course of justice. She claimed a man had raped her and beaten her on August 27, 2011.
Leech later retracted the claims, saying her boyfriend had beaten her and told her to make a rape allegation against a man she had been unfaithful with.
Male victims reported four per cent of rapes in Bolton.
Victims of rape can get help and advice at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester without going to the police.
Det Insp Simpson said he has known of victims who have attended the centre after being raped and then reported the crime months later but, because DNA has been taken by medical staff shortly after the incident, the rapist has been convicted after the woman found the strength to come forward.
Specially trained independent sexual violence advisers will work with victims from the start until the end of the case.
Special measures including screens and video links are available for people who are fearful of giving evidence in court. Investigations can take months and each report is treated seriously.
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