Rape reports fall significantly during lockdown

Reports of rape dropped significantly during lockdown, according to new figures released by Police Scotland.

Nov 26, 2020
By Paul Jacques
Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton

Between March 24 and July 5, 529 rapes were recorded by Police Scotland – a 20.2 per cent reduction over the same period in 2019.

But it warned that a reduction in reporting did not mean a reduction in offending, with all forms of sexual crime continuing to be under-reported.

While Police Scotland saw an increase in reports as lockdown restrictions eased, recent and non-recent rape offences reported between March 24 and November 15 were down 6.5 per cent overall on the same period last year – from 1,526 to 1,427.

In particular, reports of recent rape were down 10.8 per cent – from 959 to 855.

Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton, lead for public protection and major crime at Police Scotland, said: “While this data shows a clear reduction in reports of recent rape and sexual crime during lockdown, it is too early to draw conclusions as to why this might be.

“What we do know is that the vast majority of rape and sexual crime is committed by someone known to the victim.

“More than half of rapes reported to us occur within a relationship, whether that’s during the early stages of dating or in longer-term relationships. Most of those reports are made by women and girls.”

She stressed that being in a relationship “does not mean an entitlement to sex”.

“The law is very simple; sex without consent is rape,” said Ms Heaton.

“We recognise how incredibly challenging it must be for victims of rape within a relationship to proactively reach out and seek help when they are in a ‘lockdown’ situation with the perpetrator, even where they don’t reside together.”

She said Police Scotland was committed to supporting all victims of rape and other sexual offences, whether the offences occurred recently or in the past.

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