Historic Sexual Offence Reports In Kent 'Up 70%' In 12 Months

Over 1,000 Allegations Made In The Last Year

01.08.2014

The number of historic sexual offences reported to Kent Police saw a sharp increase in the last 12 months.

Figures reported by BBC Radio Kent showed 1,161 cases of this nature were reported in the last year, up from just 688 reports in the previous 12 months - a rise of almost 70 per cent.

The police force said many people now feel more comfortable coming forward to report historic sexual offences, which are categorised as offences that take place more than 28 days before allegations are made, due to the high-profile of recent cases.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Pritchard told the BBC that allegations of historic sex crimes committed against children increased 200 per cent following the publicity of the Jimmy Savile case. He added that increased publicity and the willingness of victims to come forward are providing the police force with the opportunity to safeguard children now.

"There's a completely different attitude in the police, and particularly in the Crown Prosecution Service now, around being able to accept the evidence, and put it before a jury," he explained.

Expert Opinion
The rise in the number of people feeling they can now come forward and report sexual offences on the back of high-profile cases in the public eye is a positive outcome.

“It is vital that victims of sexual offences, no matter how long ago the offences were committed, are given the opportunity to see justice done and are provided with the support to help them overcome the physical and psychological damage such abuse can cause.

“However, it is important to remember that not all sexual offences are carried out by celebrities or well-known public figures. Therefore, it is important further steps are taken to safeguard children and vulnerable young people who may suffer abuse from individuals in positions of trust."
Tracey Storey, Partner