Media attention surrounding the sick crimes of Jimmy Savile and other famous sex offenders helped spark a big rise in rapes and sex offences being reported in Lincolnshire.
In the year to August 3, Lincolnshire Police saw a 60 per cent increase in rape allegations, with cases going up from 55 to 88, and a 12 per cent rise in reported sexual assaults, with numbers leaping from 177 to 199.
Police say there is nothing to suggest that actual incidents have increased, but reporting is up nationwide because people have been given greater confidence to reveal they were victims of historic sexual abuse due to the convictions secured by Operation Yewtree.
Lincolnshire has its own sexual assault referrals centre, Spring Lodge in Lincoln, where rape and indecent assault victims aged 14 and above can get the help they need to survive the crimes committed against them – and do that, if they prefer, without involving the police.
Its workers travel to areas like South Holland to make the service easier to access.
Spring Lodge manager Amanda Farquhar said: “Definitely we have seen an increase in people coming to us, not necessarily connected to these high profile cases, but because of the media attention surrounding them.
“People have been saying this has given them the strength to come forward.
“We offer a very independent, non-judgmental genuine service.
“Some of these people have never told anyone before or the people they have told haven’t believed. We work with anyone who has experienced (sexual) abuse at any point, aged 14-plus. It doesn’t matter who or when it was.”
For some people going to Spring Lodge, it’s the first time their stories of sexual abuse have been believed – and they can at last get the help they need by being referred to services such as expert counselling.
Police are urging sexual abuse victims to contact Spring Lodge and/or to talk to officers on 101 for advice.
Police Det Insp Guy Leach said: “In line with the rest of the country we have seen a rise in reporting of historic sexual abuse. This follows the high profile cases investigated under Operation Yewtree, and reported extensively in the national media.
“We treat a historic report as we would a report of recent abuse and we investigate accordingly, if that is in line with what the victim wants.
“In some cases victims just want us to be aware should there be further reports against the suspect. There are organisations that we work closely with and recommend to people reporting abuse. Spring Lodge is the sexual assault referrals centre for Lincolnshire. They can help victims who have experienced abuse at any point in their lives.
“They offer help, support and advice regardless of whether the victim would like any police involvement. “If anyone reading this has been the victim of sexual abuse we would urge you to call 101 for further advice, or contact Spring Lodge.”
• You can call Spring Lodge on 01522 524402.