English and Welsh police forces recorded at least 850 rapes involving multiple offenders in just one six-month period, shocking government figures reveal.
Police recorded crime statistics compiled by the Home Office and analysed by NationalWorld show officers logged 856 rapes involving ‘multiple undefined offenders’ between April and September 2021.
Of these, 752 were against female victims and 104 were against males. It is not known how many victims were adults and how many were children. There are no equivalent figures available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Multiple undefined offender offences are where a victim is assaulted by more than one attacker but is unable to say precisely how many.
This would include gang rapes, as well as cases where a victim was assaulted multiple times over a period of time. An example would be sexual exploitation victims held in servitude in brothels.
It will not include all cases involving multiple attackers, however.
If a victim knew exactly how many people had assaulted them, each rape would be counted as one distinct offence under another offence category – for instance ‘rape of a female aged 16 and over’ or ‘rape of a male child aged under 13’.
The 856 multiple undefined offender offences were among 34,608 rape crimes recorded by police over the six months between April and September 2021 – of which 31,194 (90%) were against female victims.
That equates to 170 rapes of women and girls reported every day on average, and 19 of men and boys.
NationalWorld has been investigating the scale of violence against women and girls in the wake of Sarah Everard’s rape and murder, on the one year anniversary of her abduction by a serving Metropolitan police officer on 3 March 2021.
Jayne Butler, chief executive officer of Rape Crisis, said progress has felt “unbearably slow” in the year since, despite promises and pledges to tackle the issue by police, prosecutors and government.
“From the appalling misogyny and racism displayed by the Metropolitan Police and other forces, to the reported influx of spikings at clubs and parties, to the normalisation of sexual harrassment in schools, violence against women and girls feels pervasive, inescapable and unavoidable,” she said.
You can read more of Ms Butler’s reflections on the anniversary of Sarah Everard’s killing here.
The Crown Prosecution Service and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) both say they are committed to getting justice for women and girls.
An NPCC spokesperson said the Government’s decision to make tackling male violence against women and girls a “strategic policing requirement” – which places it on the same footing as terrorism – reinforced the commitment already made by police chiefs to prioritise women’s safety.
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