700 sex offences reported in a year in Suffolk

NEARLY 200 rape allegations were among almost 700 sex offences reported in Suffolk in just 12 months, police have revealed.

Colin Adwent

NEARLY 200 rape allegations were among almost 700 sex offences reported in Suffolk in just 12 months, police have revealed.

It has also emerged that between April 1, 2008, and March 31 this year there were inquiries into 84 allegations of rape on children among more than 250 reports of sex attacks on youngsters.

Ninety-eight of the assaults were on boys and girls below the age of 13.

The figures were revealed in a reply to a Freedom of Information request by the East Anglian Daily Times.

A fifth (146) of the total number of 678 sex complaints led to charges or summonses. There were also 42 cautions, mainly for sex assaults on women and children.

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Of the alleged rapes, 96 were on women aged 16 or over, while 39 were on females between 13 and 16 years old, and 29 were on girls aged 12 and under.

There were also 20 reported rapes with male victims, of which seven were aged between 13 and 16 years old, while nine others were said to have been carried out on boys aged 12 and under.

Despite the difficulties associated with sex assault inquiries Suffolk Police are urging victims to continue coming forward and assured them they would be given as much support as possible.

Detective chief inspector Neil Luckett, who is the lead officer for rape crimes in Suffolk, said: “Sex offences cover a whole range of different types of offences. All of them have their complexities.

“We would encourage people to come and talk to us if they have been subjected to a sex offence.

“We are working very closely with our partners in response to any allegation because we recognise that sometimes the police don't necessarily have all the answers.

“We appreciate that to come forward is a big step because sometimes these are historical allegations that have happened many months or years ago.

“For people to say 'I want to do something about that' is difficult because they have to go through that trauma again.

“We will do our best for them through that process and seek to get the best outcome we can for them.

“Unlike many crimes, if people have the confidence to report sex offences to us it means we are doing things correctly. The more people who report offences, the more people will have confidence in our response.”

Among the other sex allegations made to police during the 12-month period were indecent exposure and voyeurism which accounted for a little more than 10 per cent of the reports.

Cases of exploitation of prostitution, incest, abuse of trust and sexual grooming were also investigated by police.

Police stress that sexual offences are all taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

The numbers quoted in the Freedom of Information response were only for reported offences and do not necessarily equate to crimes.

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