West Yorkshire Police is hoping to encourage victims of rape and sexual assault to come forward and have the necessary confidence that they will be listened to and that they will be taken seriously.
They say that for too long rape has been under-reported crime and that the force wants to make it clear it will do everything it can to investigate the crimes reported to them and bring to justice those that are responsible.
“There are many reasons why victims of rape haven’t come forward and reported what has happened to them,” said Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee.
“Some feel that they are in some way responsible for what has happened this is absolutely not the case. And it is undoubtedly the case that some victims have not had the confidence in the police or the criminal justice system to report what happened to them.
“I see the significant rise in reported rape that West Yorkshire police has seen as really positive, it does not mean that more people are being raped but that more people are confident to come forward because of the work we and our partners have done to encourage victims to come forward, I hope that this continues to provide other victims with confidence that allegations of rape are treated extremely seriously by West Yorkshire Police.
“We are keen in West Yorkshire to continue to improve our work to encourage victims to come forward.
“Sadly society at times has negative perceptions about sexual offending and these perceptions allow sexual crime to go unreported and offenders to go unpunished, we need to change those perceptions by providing people with information that enables them to understand better the nature of the problem and what it is that constitutes rape or other sexual violence.
“And that is why my commitment is to the victims of this dreadful crime that, if they come forward and tell us what has happened, we will not only do all we can to bring the offender to justice but also with our partners provide support and counsel to help them through what is a very difficult and distressing time.
“Times have changed in the police service and allegations of rape are handled very differently to how they used to be.
“Our staff work with a great number of statutory and non statutory agencies to really focus on the best possible outcome for the survivors of abuse and harm.”
West Yorkshire police has five multi skilled safeguarding units based within districts which house specially trained staff including police officers and partner organisations who all work together to provide the best possible service to our communities in helping to keep them safe.