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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Savile scandal linked to rise in reports of historic rapes in Cumbria

The number of historic rape cases being reported in Cumbria are going up – and the Jimmy Savile scandal is believed to be a key factor.

Jimmy Savile photo
Jimmy Savile

Reports made to officers about attacks alleged to have happened in the past stood at 51 in the last year, compared to 37 in the 12 months before.

A top-level document states Cumbria is reflecting a national trend where publicity over the police operation launched in the wake of revelations about Savile may have encouraged more victims to come forward.

The total number of rape cases in the county has also been climbing since October 2012, when Operation Yewtree got underway.

The revelations come in a report to Cumbria’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, which will be up for discussion at a meeting of senior crimefighters this week.

It also shows the total number of rape cases, including the historical allegations, has gone up to 131 in the 12 months up to May, from 97 the year before.

The force aims to encourage an increase as traditionally sex crimes are under-reported.

The report states: “Cumbria is not alone in experiencing an increase in rape offences. Police-recorded rape offences are rising across England and Wales.

“Evidence suggests that some of this increase is likely to be a result of Operation Yewtree, which was initiated in October 2012 by Scotland Yard in light of sexual abuse claims against Jimmy Savile and others.”

It adds that nationally “the publicity surrounding Operation Yewtree may have encouraged more victims to have come forward”.

“Cumbria reflects this trend,” the report states.

Other sexual offences have also increased in Cumbria, with the number rising to 320 reports, compared to 260 the previous year. Documents say the “Yewtree effect” is also likely to have contributed to this rise.

Savile, a Radio 1 DJ who also presented the BBC’s Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It , died in October 2011 aged 84.

Since his death, it has emerged he sexually abused hundreds of victims, many when they were children. Police believe Savile may be the most prolific paedophile in British history.

The report adds Cumbria Police is working with Mr Rhodes’ office and others to improve the services for victims of sexual assault and is encouraging more people to come forward to report such crimes.

Agencies are aiming to establish a referral centre that will co-ordinate the health and emotional support available for victims in Cumbria.

The report will be discussed by Mr Rhodes’ executive board at the county police headquarters, near Penrith, on Wednesday.

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