MORE than half of all reported rapes across the county last year were against children.
Figures obtained by the Leader from North Wales Police show that out of a total of 53 rapes reported in Flintshire last year, 28 were against children aged 16 and under.
Of the 28 reported cases, nine were of rape against girls under 13, with a further eight cases of rape of a female under 16.
Seven incidents of rape of a boy under 13 were reported during the same 12 months and there were four cases of rape of a male aged under 16 reported.
The number of reported cases of rapes against girls under 13 was higher than in 2012 and reported rapes of boys aged 13 or below also increased from one in 2012 to seven last year.
North Wales Police Detective Inspector Kelly Isaacs said: “North Wales Police recognise the unique nature of rape as a crime and are dedicated to providing specialist investigators with skills and training specific to improving the response provided to all victims.”
The figures – released to the Leader under the Freedom of Information Act – also show that 14 incidents of sexual assault on young boys under 13 years old were reported during 2013, up 12 on the 2012 figure of two.
There were seven reported sexual assaults against girls under 13 last year.
Specialist staff from across North Wales were brought together in June last year to form a team known as Amethyst – dedicated to investigating rape.
The team, made up of a detective inspector, three detective sergeants, 12 detective constables, six specially trained officers and an analyst, works alongside the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and third sector colleagues to ensure an investigative response to all reports of rape.
NSPCC national head of service for Wales, Des Mannion, said: “Sexual abuse continues to be a terrible scar on our society which won’t heal by itself.
“A concentrated effort has to be made if we are to start reducing the distressing level of sexual offences committed on young and vulnerable children.
“It’s a startling fact that most children are abused by someone they know and this highlights the urgent need to tackle this problem from an early age.”
Cathy Davies, chief executive of domestic abuse support organisation, Hafan Cymru, said it supported 52 women, 67 children and one man in Flintshire last year and that 42 of the adults had experienced physical or sexual abuse.
She added: “Our work in schools across Wales, including in secondary schools in Flintshire, raises awareness of what a healthy relationship is and aims to change children and young people’s attitudes to sexual violence, violence against women and domestic abuse.
“We feel strongly that we need also to raise awareness of the sexual abuse of men and especially young men – something which is supported by the recent statistics of sexual assaults of young men in Flintshire during 2013.”