90% of sexual offences reported to Cumbria Police saw no charge over five year period

Figures obtained exclusively by ITV Border have found more than 7,500 sexual offences were reported to police over a five year period, the equivalent to around four cases a day.

For the same period, 764 of sexual offences saw a charge or a summons, which means a written order has been sent to attend a court to answer an allegation.

7,810 sexual offences reported to Cumbria Police between July 2015 and October 2020.

According to the data, which was obtained through a freedom of information request, 660 cases involved children under the age of 13 and 1,307 reports involved teenagers under the age of 16.

Just over ten years ago, Elizabeth says she was walking home from a restaurant in Carlisle when she was struck from behind and sexually assaulted.

She reported the incident to the police, but says her attacker was never found.

Speaking to ITV Border, she says she finds it difficult to go about her normal life knowing that her attacker could potentially be still out there.

Elizabeth said: “Just pretty sick to be honest. You just don’t really want to put yourself back in that situation where it could potentially happen again or be in that area of town where it happened because, like, what if you run into them again?

“You find yourself scanning the crowd to see if you can recognise a face and [you] just watch your every step, really.”

According to the Survivors Trust, every five minutes in the UK someone is raped. One in four women and one in six men have experienced sexual violence and 15% of girls and 5% of boys have experienced sexual violence by the time they are 16.

Cumbria Police say the figures are in line with the national average and encourages everyone to come forward and report sexual offences.

Detective Chief Inspector DCI Coombes told ITV Border: “That information was provided at the beginning of the year, so that was around 10%.

“A lot of those investigations were still underway so that number has gone up since that information was provided.

She continued: “We work really closely with partner agencies such as the Bridgeway to ensure that people are getting the right level of service and it’s not always a judicial outcome when they come to the police to report a crime.

“The important thing is that they do report it and we’re able to get them the support that they need.”

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