Rape reports in Scotland decrease during Covid lockdown but police warn of continued underreporting

Reports of recent rape in Scotland have fallen by more than 10 percent during the pandemic.

The latest Police Scotland figures show there were 855 recent rapes recorded between March 24 and November 15 compared to 959 the year before.

Recent rape is defined as a report within a year of the crime occurring, with non-recent being over a year.

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A total of 1,427 rapes - including non-recent reports - were recorded between March 24 and November 15 this year compared to 1,526 over the same period last year, a 6.5 percent drop overall.

The latest Police Scotland figures show reported rapes have fallen in Scotland - but the force has warned of continued under-reporting of sex crimes. Pic: Yupa Watchanakit

The figures also showed that all reported rapes fell by more than a fifth in the first three-and-a-half months of lockdown compared to the same period last year, with 529 rapes recorded between March 24 and July 5.

The number of reports increased as lockdown restrictions eased.

Police have warned that a reduction in rape reporting does not mean a reduction in offending, with all forms of sexual crime continuing to be underreported.

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.

“Let’s be very clear about this, being in a relationship does not mean an entitlement to sex. People in a relationship are entitled to say no to sex and to be heard. The law is very simple, sex without consent is rape.

“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.

“We want you to know that we are here if you feel able to report and we will always listen.”

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