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Rape Victims Encouraged to Keep Coming Forward

4th June 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner is encouraging victims of rape to continue coming forward to the force.

Commissioner Baird made the plea following media reports that a surge in reported rape cases to police is threatening to overwhelm them and prosecutors.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said his force is ‘creaking’ under the strain of an increase in the number of victims coming forward with specialist detectives suffering ‘burnout’ because of their increased workload.

However Vera Baird has said while officers are working exceptionally hard to investigate the increased reports of rape, in Northumbria, they aren’t overwhelmed by this. The Commissioner also added that she is encouraged to see victims having the courage to come forward and the force would continue to support them all they can plus investigate their case thoroughly.

Commissioner Baird said: “I would always encourage people who have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, whether recent or historic, to come forward to police.

“We have specialist officers equipped to deal with these reports and we have an excellent system of support for victims.

“The number of rape reports we currently get is actually encouraging as it does show those who are subjected to it aren’t afraid to seek out help.

“Northumbria has a high rate of convicting rapists so I want people to have the confidence to know they will be believed and their case will be pursued with vigour and skill by the force’s specialist unit of dedicated officers.”

Commissioner Baird has long been a supporter of Rape Crisis, joining with the Tyneside and Northumberland branch in March to support the organisation’s campaign ‘Rape #we believe you’.

She added: “As well as the criminal side of such cases, there is a wealth of support networks available to victims which can offer assistance such as Rape Crisis.

“My message to any victim would be to come forward. The police aren’t too busy or overwhelmed to speak to you. You will always be believed and your case thoroughly investigated.”

People can contact police on 101, extension 69191. In an emergency call 999.

Rape Crisis can be contacted on 0800 035 2794.