Sex assault figures rise

Chief Constable Sara Thornton

Chief Constable Sara Thornton

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

THE number of sex crimes reported to police in Oxfordshire rose by 29 per cent in the last year, nine percentage points above the national average increase.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed 693 sex crimes were reported in the county between April last year and March this year – up from 536 the previous year.

The figures for Oxford were even worse, with a 35 per cent rise to 241 sexual offences.

The number of sex crimes from April 13 to March 14 in England and Wales rose by 20 per cent to 64,200, up from 53,620 during the same period the previous year.

Thames Valley Police said recent high profile historic sex abuse cases, including the Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile scandals, were largely responsible for sexual offences reaching their highest level since September 2010.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “The number of recorded offences continues to be influenced by the allegations against celebrities and the subsequent successful prosecutions, resulting in greater reporting of historical offences.”

There was a 3.2 per cent drop in total crime in Oxfordshire – from 36,438 to 35,264 –with burglary, robbery and violent crime all falling. 

But theft rose by one per cent, with 149 more thefts than last year, bringing the total number to 14,491. 

Operation Bullfinch – launched in 2011 to investigate child sex explopitation in Oxford – has so far seen nine men jailed for more than 100 years for sex crimes dating back to 2004. 

This year, 21-year-old Omid Ali was jailed for 14 years for raping a vulnerable teenager, while Mustafa Ahmed was jailed for 18 months for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old in 2011. 

Nationally, celebrities Harris, Max Clifford and Stuart Hall have all been jailed for historic sex crimes under Operation Yewtree.

But Natalie Brook, service manager at the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre, said it was difficult to know whether the rise was due to victims becoming more willing to come forward or due to a rise in the number of crimes taking place. 

She said: “We know that only 15 per cent of women who have experienced sexual violence report it to the police in the first place so it is very difficult to know how many sexual offences actually happen each year. 

“In general we judge it to be a good thing the rate has gone up because we feel it means more people have felt able to report their experiences. 

“Victims have gained confidence in recent years because they increasingly believe that the police will believe them and support them when they come forward. 
“But unlike with other crimes which have a much higher rate of reporting, it is very hard for us to know whether offences are dropping or rising because we know the disparity between offences and reported offences is so large.” 

Sylvia Neatham, who had £770 stolen from her in Witney town centre last August, said more needed to be done. 

She said: “People need to be more vigilant but we also need more police on the streets, especially in areas where lots of crimes happen.” 

Burglary fell by 11 per cent from 3,502 reported offences to 3,111, robbery dropped by nine per cent from 222 to 203 and violent crime fell by three per cent from 4,645 offences to 4,526. 

Criminal damage also fell, with the number of offences going down from 1,704, 1,518 – a fall of 11 per cent. 

Drug offences went down by six per cent from 933 reported crimes to 878. 

Crimes relating to possession of a weapon dropped 16 per cent from 92 to 77, but public order crimes went up from 700 to 802, a 15 per cent rise. 

There was a slight increase in the number of vehicle offences, with 1,048 offences reported compared to 1,022 the year before. 

 Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “The fact that crime continues to drop and, in some areas the reduction is greater than the national average, shows that the tireless work of Thames Valley Police officers and staff is paying off.” 

  • Victims of sex crimes can contact the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre on 0800 783 6294.

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The figures

Sex crimes reported: 

Cherwell 

2012/13: 134 

2013/14: 157 

Rise: 17% 

Oxford 

2012/13: 178 

2013/14: 241 

Rise: 35% 

South Oxfordshire 

2012/13: 90 

2013/14: 78 

Fall: 13% 

Vale of White Horse 

2012/13: 74 

2013/14: 121 

Rise: 64% 

West Oxfordshire 

2012/13: 60 

2013/14: 96 

Rise: 60% 

Oxfordshire 

2012/13: 536 

2013/14: 693 

Rise: 29%

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Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:15am Sat 19 Jul 14

The New Private Eye says...

After a freedom of information request it seems that the number of sex assaults by Private Hire Drivers in Oxford has, in the last ten years risen by about 600%. It is ok using Jimmy Saville to justify the numbers above, but the reporter should have given us a breakdown of the demographic.
After a freedom of information request it seems that the number of sex assaults by Private Hire Drivers in Oxford has, in the last ten years risen by about 600%. It is ok using Jimmy Saville to justify the numbers above, but the reporter should have given us a breakdown of the demographic. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 2

1:07am Mon 21 Jul 14

Eager beaver says...

These figures are constantly manipulated , when are the public going to accept that we are being fed a load of ... Proverbial

Less officers = less recording of offences .....

Officers can't take the workload so they record what is the flavour of the month ( last year was hate crime , this year sexual offences !) this keeps the chiefs happy so the Indians don't get the grief.
These figures are constantly manipulated , when are the public going to accept that we are being fed a load of ... Proverbial Less officers = less recording of offences ..... Officers can't take the workload so they record what is the flavour of the month ( last year was hate crime , this year sexual offences !) this keeps the chiefs happy so the Indians don't get the grief. Eager beaver
  • Score: 1

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