Nearly one in four rape victims are girls under 16, “unacceptable” new figures reveal



Girls under 16 were the victims in nearly a quarter of rape cases, according to Home Office data seen by The Independent.

Around 60,000 out of 271,000 rapes recorded by police in the five years up to last spring had young girls as victims, the data shows.

Roughly 26,200 of these were under 13 years-old – nearly one in 10 – according to the data requested by the Liberal Democrats.

Charities said the figures for England and Wales were “unacceptable” and the true toll was likely to be higher due to the under-reporting of this crime.

Lisa McCrindle from the Center of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse told The Independent it is “often overlooked” in analysis of rape and sexual assault data that “a large proportion of victims of these sexual offenses are children”.

She said most sexual assault offenses that saw reporting increases of more than 20 per cent in 2020 to 2021 were against children, including sexual assault on a girl under 13 and rape of a girl under 16.

Jayne Butler, the chief executive of the Rape Crisis, said: “It is unacceptable that so many young women and girls are having to cope with the trauma of sexual violence.”

“That a high percentage of reported rapes are committed against females under the age of 16 demonstrates the urgent need to address the misogyny that underpins sexual violence, as well as the need for proper sex education that covers consent and healthy relationships.”

The official data – provided by the House of Commons library – showed 23 per cent of all rape victims recorded by police were girls under the age of 16 between spring 2016 and 2021.

Women aged 16 or over were the victim of most rapes reported to police during this time: 178,321 – or 66 per cent – out of 271, 487.

Rebecca Goshawk from women’s aid charity Solace said: “This new research is upsetting and unacceptable, and as we know rape is underreported, the true figure is likely to be even higher.”

Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dem spokesperson for women and equalities, told The Independent: “Let’s be clear, these disgraceful figures are a result of misogyny and sexist attitudes that are so prevalent in the UK.”

She said there needed to be a “culture change” and misogyny to be made a hate crime in the country, as well as an independent review into “catastrophically low conviction rates”.

Last year, it was revealed convictions for rape had plummeted to the lowest level on record between 2019 and 2020. This was despite police recording the second highest number of rapes between these years since 2002, which was the furthest back the Office for National Statistics data. ran.

Other figures show only 1.3 per cent of rapes resulted in a charge in the year up to September 2021.

A government spokesperson said: “Rape charges have increased, but we know that more needs to be done. That’s why we’re overhauling our entire response to rape.

“We are recruiting more sexual violence advisers, rolling out pre-recorded evidence faster, improving collaboration between the Police and Crown Prosecution Service and increasing funding for victim support services to a minimum £440m over the next three years.”


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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