MORE work needs to be done to record sexual assault and rape crimes in order to help victims come forward, that’s the message from a support charity.
Aurora New Dawn in Havant helps victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and said it is working closely with Hampshire police to ensure crimes are recorded correctly.
It comes after a major report into Hampshire Constabulary’s recording of crime found that of 28 rape incidents recorded as no-crime – meaning they were classified as a crime but then declassified – 18 should have remained crimes.
Hampshire police admitted it had recorded fewer crimes by investigating first and then recording, but this would now change.
Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Aurora New Dawn, said: ‘We work closely with Hampshire Constabulary and we’re pleased it is changing the way it records crimes.
‘It’s essential for sexual abuse victims that they are believed right from the get-go, so it should be recorded and then investigated.
‘That’s telling the victim “we believe you” and we all have a duty to do that.
‘We know only about 15 per cent of victims come forward to report anyway, so we are on about crimes that are greatly under-reported.
‘It’s up to the authorities, to the police and to charities, that can make a difference for these victims.
‘The crimes must be recorded before being investigated – that has got to change.’
The information has come to light following a national controversy at Sheffield United Football Club allowing convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them again.
Mrs Dillon added: ‘You only have to see that nationally a convicted rapist, footballer Ched Evans, is still not seen as a rapist by some.
‘This does not help a survivor of sexual abuse and this needs to change.
‘Nationally there has been a problem with the way crime is being recorded, but we want to look forward and make sure this changes.’
As reported, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, had said the figures were ‘unacceptable’.
Inspectors looked at 127 incident records from people who called the police.
They found that 112 of them should have been recorded as crimes but only 67 were.
Eight were incorrectly classified and two were recorded after a 72-hour time limit.