Sexual assault and harassment incidents reported to Lincolnshire Police grew by 27% from last year, with almost 800 reports made in 2021 alone.
Data obtained from Lincolnshire Police following a Freedom of Information request by The Lincolnite found that as of October 4 this year, there had been 794 reports of sexual assault or harassment in the county.
Of those, 765 were reports of sexual assault, while 29 were sexual harassment claims. In 2020 there were 596 sexual assault reports and 26 for harassment.
This equates to a 27% rise in total – with the last two months of 2021 not accounted for in these statistics – which Lincolnshire Police say could well be a result of wider awareness of the topic, following the murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year.
Detective Superintendent Martyn Parker, head of the protecting vulnerable people unit at Lincolnshire Police, said: “We have seen an increase in sexual assault reporting since 2020. We believe this to be a balance between COVID-19 and the lockdowns which saw a reduction in offences between 2019 and 2020.
“It’s also likely to be due to the media drive for victims to report offences, following the murder of Sarah Everard. This may have driven a rise in reporting and could account for the spikes in reporting around these periods.
“I’d encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault to contact us or Spring Lodge, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.”
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said: “Much work has been done, both nationally and locally, to ensure victims are encouraged to come forward and trust the authorities to take them seriously.
“It is inevitable that these efforts – along with new and improved crime recording processes – are reflected in a growing numbers of both recent and non-recent cases being included in the national and local statistics.
“My office has been successful in securing nearly £1m for additional CCTV in the county which will be invaluable in making our streets safer.
“That said I am never complacent about increases in crime and will be working alongside the Chief Constable to make certain the deployment of extra officers will help keep our communities safe.”
For more information and advice on how to report an incident of sexual assault or harassment, visit the Lincolnshire Police website.