UK: England & Wales infamously triple the highest rape count in the European Union Print E-mail
 Friday November 24 2017

Rape figures for England and Wales highest in EU

Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

There were 35,700 rapes recorded in England and Wales in 2015 (ANNA GOWTHORPE/PA)

The number of rapes recorded by police in England and Wales is the highest in the EU, according to official figures published yesterday.

Almost three times more rapes were recorded than in France, the country with the second highest number.

Figures from Eurostat, the official statistics organisation of the EU, showed there were 35,700 rapes in England and Wales in 2015, compared with 12,900 in France, just over 7,000 in Germany and 5,500 in Sweden. Overall about 215,000 violent sex crimes were recorded in the EU.

The number of rapes relative to population was also highest in England and Wales, at 62 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Sweden on 57. In France the figure was 19 and in Germany 8.6.

Recorded rapes have risen in recent years because of improvements in the way police deal with claims, which have encouraged victims to report attacks, and a rise in recorded historical sex abuse after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Eurostat said: “It should be borne in mind that the figures do not necessarily reflect the actual number of violent sexual crimes. Rather they show to what extent such crimes are reported to and recorded by police. Therefore the variation between countries is also influenced by general awareness and attitudes to sexual violence offences.” In Germany until last year an act was considered to be rape only if the victim had defended themselves; simply saying “no” was not sufficient.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “It is likely that police practices and wider cultural attitudes to rape affect the willingness to report it.

“There has been some effort made in England and Wales over the past decade to improve the police and prosecution service’s response and, as such, it is possible that England and Wales have something to be proud of in having one of the highest reporting rates.”

The figures were released as the Office for National Statistics published a study showing that an estimated 1.9 million adults aged between 16 and 59 had been victims of domestic abuse in the year to March. About 1.2 million of them were women, according to estimates from the Crime Survey of England and Wales. Such incidents account for a third of recorded crime.

There were 454 domestic homicides between April 2013 and March last year, with 319 of the victims being women. Some 242 of the female victims were killed by a male partner or former partner. Two thirds of the male victims were killed by another man.

Although the estimated number of incidents of domestic abuse was 1.9 million, only 1.1 million reports of abuse were recorded by police, showing that many victims never go to the authorities.

Suzanne Jacob, from Safelives, a domestic abuse charity, said: “Victims are not ‘hidden’ ­ they’re coming forward in increasing numbers ­ we’re simply not doing enough yet to see them and respond. We hope this new evidence will encourage agencies to work together to see the whole picture, putting in place the best response, at the earliest stage, for all members of the family.”

Louisa Rolfe, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, said: “We know that many victims still do not report domestic abuse to us so we are working to give people confidence that police will always act to safeguard victims as a priority, such as through issuing protection orders or working directly with victims’ charities.”