The number of reported rapes is at its highest level yet

The number of reported rapes is at its highest level yet

The number of reported rapes in England and Wales it now at its highest ever level, according to official figures.

In the 12 months to June 2014 the Office for National Statistics recorded 22,116 incidents of rape - an increase of 29 per cent year on year.

Note, this data in the below chart shows slightly different figures to the ones noted above - the measures are between April-April every year, so they show figures between April 2013-14.

John Flatley, the head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the increase was driven by an increase in victims reporting historical offences and the police changing how they handle rape investigations. In other words, it's a rise, but it might not be as bad as it seens.

"We have seen over the last few years a notable rise in victims coming forward to report historical offences," he said.

"But this recent set of figures shows quite a change in that pattern, with 73 per cent of the rise due to current offences.

"So victims are coming forward now to report recent occurrences rather than historical ones and it's certainly the case the police are taking action to improve their recording and handling of rape investigations."

Meanwhile crime minister Norman Baker put the rise down to victims being "more willing" to talk to police about their experiences.

"What we're seeing is an encouragement generally for offences against a person, whether it's rape or whether it's domestic abuse or indeed child sexual exploitation, people are now more willing to come forward," he told BBC News. "We've improved the police recording of these terrible crimes and consequently we're now seeing an official increase."

Separate statistics also released today showed overall crime had fallen 16 per cent year on year and it was at its lowest levels in three decades.

More: 14 signs we live in a rape culture

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