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County has 2,000 sexual violence reports in a year



The BBC website and Your Thurrock have today reported on data released by the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service.


Local Democracy Reporting Service showing that there has been a significant increase in reported rape and sexual assault – you can read the articles here Over 2,000 reports of sexual violence made in Essex in a year - BBC News and here Next government needs ‘to act on’ rape offences after Essex sees 140% spike - Your Thurrock.


Rebekah Brant - Deputy Chief Operting Officer, on behalf of SERICC (part of the Synergy Essex Rape Crisis Partnership) stated “the number of reported rape cases are mirrored in the demand for our specialist services across Essex. There has been increased reporting to the police over the years, particularly during the shutdowns during the pandemic. 


Delays in the courts continue to have a significant impact on many victims and survivors, creating additional distress and frustration. Specialist staff called independent Sexual Violence Accredited Advisor (ISVAA) are needed for a much longer period, some cases are now being scheduled for March 2026 which we are really concerned about. Synergy Essex (ISVAA)s are currently supporting 870 victims and survivors with active police or court cases – 46% of these victims and survivors reported to the police before April 2023. 


SERICC have been actively involved in the national review on sexual offences called Operation Soteria - Bluestone. The review recognised improvements needed across the criminal justice system and the essential support to keep victims and survivors engaged in the lengthy criminal justice process.  We know that in Essex victims and survivors are 19% more likely to stay engaged with the criminal justice process if they are receiving services from a Synergy Essex ISVAA. 


In addition, Rebekah stated, "The figure (2,171), produced by the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service, do not include all reported sexual offences – there were 6,150 sexual offences reported in Essex in 2022/2023, this includes for example, adult survivors of child sexual abuse and victims of online or internet related sexual offences”.  


Over the last year we have worked in partnership with Essex police and the Essex Fire, Police and Crime Commissioner who has ensured sexual violence and sexual abuse is a priority area in their action plans. Recently Sir Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, stated that combatting violence against women and girls will need the same level of funding as the fights against terrorism or organised crime.” 


This dedicated Ministry of Justice ISVAA funding is likely to cease at the end of March 2025.   With the new Victims and Prisoners Act 2024, recommending additional specialist support for those in the criminal justice arena, it is disappointing that our services may need to reduce our specialist criminal justice support because of unconfirmed funding arrangements.  


Rape Crisis England & Wales have recently launched a petition regarding this funding.”  RCEW Petition