FIGURES showing the number of sexual offences in Wrexham and Flintshire reported to police have been revealed.

As the total number of reported sex offences peaked across England and Wales, charities have urged the Government to do more to protect victims who feel unsupported by the criminal justice system.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows North Wales Police recorded 469 sexual offences in Flintshire in the year to March.

This was up from 433 the year before, and is the highest number since 2019, when there were 517.

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In Wrexham, North Wales Police recorded 507 sexual offences in the year to March.

This was up from 424 the year before, but fewer than the 509 recorded in the 12 months to March 2020 – before the coronavirus pandemic.

Across England and Wales, 194,683 sexual offences were reported in 2021-22 – a 32% increase on the year prior and the highest number since records began in 2003.

Reported sexual offences have increased more than three-fold in the last decade, though the impact of high-profile cases and campaigns on victims’ willingness to report incidents is a factor, the ONS said.

Ruth Davison, CEO of domestic abuse charity Refuge, said: "We need system-wide reform to ensure that survivors are supported and believed when they make the brave choice to report the abuse they’ve experienced and the crimes committed against them.

"Without it, women will continue to lack confidence in the system and be less inclined from seeking the justice they deserve."

The Home Office said more victims coming forward is "encouraging", but admitted more must be done.

A spokesperson added: "The police and the Crown Prosecution Service must continue to raise the bar in handling such cases, so victims know they will be taken seriously and the criminals responsible are put behind bars.

"Through our Rape Review Action Plan, we are working to make sure the system works better."

The number of reported rape offences across England and Wales has also reached a record high, topping 70,000 for the first time in 2021-22 – an increase of 26% from the year before.

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Rape Crisis warned the number of recorded rape offences does not tell the entire story as victims and survivors fear they won’t be believed or taken seriously, and know that they are "highly unlikely" to ever see someone charged.

As a Force, North Wales Police has undertaken detailed auditing of crime recording figures over the past 12 months.

This process has enabled NWP to improve accuracy in all areas of reported crime data, which has enhanced and informed our policing response.

Superintendent Nick Evans, of North Wales Police, said: “Accurate crime recording promotes trust and confidence in our communities and allows us to plan our resourcing accordingly.

“Throughout this 12-month period there has also been a concerted focus on improving the victim’s journey through the organisation.

“Central to this objective is our risk-based audit plan, which focuses on the crimes that have the biggest impact on victims.

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“In refining the identification of these offences we have also improved the service victims receive from our officers.

“It’s clear not all forces have taken this approach or had such dramatic improvements, making it difficult to compare crime data force by force or year by year.

“It is also the case that the reporting of crime was down during the Covid pandemic and as such, an increase in recording this year compared to last was certainly anticipated.”