Historic abuse blamed for rise in child rape cases

Woman standing at door Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption More victims of historic abuse are now coming forward, say police forces

Historic sexual abuse is fuelling the rise in the number of child rape cases being recorded in some parts of Wales, say two police forces.

The North Wales force area has recorded the highest number of child rape cases of any part of England and Wales, while Gwent Police has the third highest.

In five years, recorded cases have almost doubled in north Wales, to 117 for every 100,000 children.

It comes as the Operation Pallial historic abuse investigation continues.

Nearly 300 people have registered complaints with the police as part of the operation examining abuse at children's homes across north Wales since the early 1950s.

The latest figures on child rape cases have been released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), whose rape monitoring group collates information from every police force in Wales and England.

"I believe it is more a case of an increase in the reporting of the crime rather than an increase in the crime itself," said Winston Roddick, the police and crime commissioner for north Wales.

"This is largely due to historic offences which have come to light as a result of Operation Pallial and to the victims feeling more confident that they will be listened to if they report a crime of this nature."

Image copyright Thinkstock/BBC
Image caption Cases per 100,000 population - Source: HMIC

The Gwent force has also seen a substantial rise in the number of recorded child rape cases.

The average number of recorded cases for all forces is 72 per 100,000, up from 53 in 2009-10.

Gwent's Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said he believes the figures for his force represent an increased confidence in victims reporting attacks.

"49% of rapes reported last year were historical in nature, meaning they were over 12 months old, which shows that people who were reluctant to report in the past are coming forward now," he said.

"I am hopeful these figures demonstrate an increased confidence among members of the public in the way that police record and investigate rapes and sexual offences."

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