Reports of rape double across Fife

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The high-profile coverage of Jimmy Savile’s catalogue of sex crimes has encouraged 35 victims in Fife to come forward to report historical rape.

The increase, which is being handled by Fife’s new rape investigation team, has been attributed to the fact that victims feel more confident they will see justice in the wake of Operation Yewtree.

Addressing the police transition committee last week, Detective Inspector Michelle Johnson said: “People are getting the message that if they go to the police now, they will be believed.

“It doesn’t matter who the person is, or if it happened 30 years ago.

“Victims will still get the same level of investigation as someone who reported a rape which happened last night.”

Last year, Fife police dealt with 49 cases of rape and serious sexual assault – this year that figure has risen to 97.

“It’s a massive increase on last year and we are proactively targeting offenders,” commented DI Johnson.

“These rapists were always there but they weren’t being reported before.”

The current detection rates are 97 per cent, compared to 77 per cent last year, but the conviction rate for rape cases is traditionally low and currently sits at around six per cent.

However, officers at the helm of Fife’s new investigation unit are hopeful this trend can be overturned.

“We were not great historically with investigation cases of rape,” admitted DI Johnson.

“The victims have to be treated with the utmost respect and have to feel they are believed at all times.

“If not, we will never see the process through to a successful conviction.”

Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan stressed most cases were not a result of sexual predators roaming the streets preying on random women, but people known to the victims.

He said: “Domestic rapes are the biggest challenge in Fife.

“Last year, we dealt with seven cases of domestic rape. This year, we have had 42, 35 of which were historic.

“These rapes happened behind closed doors but people are coming forward – and we will proactively go and lock these (perpetrators) up.”

Operation Yewtree has so far dealt with almost 600 alleged victims, 450 of them linked to Savile, and has led to several high-profile arrests, most recently Rolf Harris.