New sex attack figures revealed

FIGURES for the number of sex attacks reported in Calderdale have been revealed.

There were 165 offences in the district between April 2009 and March 2010, and 164 the year before.

Divisional Commander of Calderdale Police Chief Superintendent Alan Ford urged victims to contact the police, assuring them they will be listened to.

“If you are a victim of an assault, please report it to us, please report it straight away.

“It’s not just about the investigation, we have specially-trained staff to do that but we also put a lot of effort in to support the victim and their family.”

The police work closely with other organisations that help sex attack victims, such as Calderdale and Kirklees WomenCentre and Surviving Trauma After Rape (STAR).

With the help of volunteers, they have also been running Operation Northdale in Halifax town centre – a push aimed at cutting sexual offences.

The work includes handing out safety packs to revellers with anti-drink spiking kits.

Figures from STAR show they had 40 referrals from Calderdale between April 2010 and December 2010 an average of between four and five a month.

A vast majority – 95 per cent - of these were female.

Most of the victims were aged between 17 and 20 although one was as young as between 10 and 13.

Most of them were victims of rape.

STAR offers a free, confidential 24-hour helpline so that anyone who has been the victim of a sex attack in West Yorkshire can speak to crisis workers.

Barbara Siedlecki, manager of STAR, said: “Being raped or sexually assaulted is a very traumatic time for victims, which is why we want to make it as easy a possible for people to access help and support.”

The STAR hotline number is 08444 068680 or visit www.starproject.co.uk for more information.