Victims' bravery sees number of Edinburgh rape reports soar
A LITTLE over a week ago the Lord Advocate James Wolffe and charity Rape Crisis met to sign an accord looking to make the prosecution of sex attacks in Scotland less traumatic for those who have suffered.
And little by little, it seems, such overtures are beginning to embolden women to believe that they will be listened to and believed. But that includes more than a quarter – at 28 per cent – categorised as “historical” dating back a year or more.
Campaigners believe that the successful outcome of many of these historical cases gives other survivors confidence that they will be listened to and believed by the police, regardless of how long ago the offences happened.
Dubbed the “Savile effect” and following the viral #metoo in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein, media coverage may also have led to the identification of further survivors who previously may not have reported crimes to the police.
Rape Crisis Scotland chief executive Sandy Brindley said the Capital’s figures mirror the national picture which demonstrates the highest number of reported rape since 1971.
“This is a very significant increase in reported sexual crime.
“While it is likely that at least some of this increase is due to increased confidence in people feeling able to come forward and report what has happened to them, it is also possible that there has been an increase in the actual levels of sexual crime being experienced.
“Rape Crisis centres across Scotland are seeing unprecedented levels of demand on their services.
“It is vital that as more people come forward to report what has happened to them, services are resourced to respond and provide the support people deserve following rape or other sexual crimes.”
Rape centres, including Rape Crisis Edinburgh, gather feedback of victims experience when reporting crime to cops and send the anonymous information to Police Scotland each month.
Ms Brindley said the practice aims to help officers improve their practice when dealing with rape cases and so far, results were moving in a postive direction.
Figures seen by the Edinburgh Evening news show other crimes including drug dealing, housebreaking and violence, including sex attacks, were also up.
Total crimes in the Capital from January to September rose by 2,057, or 13.7 percent, to 17,049 on the same period last year – up 1.7 percent on the five-year average.
Police said they were focusing on key areas aimed at keeping Edinburgh safe.