Not even 2 per cent of rapes reported in Mid Ulster result in a conviction

292 reports of alleged rape result in 4 convictions
292 reports of alleged rape result in 4 convictions

Despite the fact that 292 rape offences have been reported in Mid Ulster since 2005, police were only able to reveal a total of four convictions.

The figures, obtained from the PSNI through a Freedom of Information [FOI] request, highlight the low conviction rate for alleged sexual crimes in the area.

But with the force’s conviction and arrest data held in two different systems, a spokesperson said it is “not possible to detect all of the conviction data”.

What it could say, however, was that some of the four people found guilty of either rape or attempted rape in the former policing areas of Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt - were convicted of multiple offences.

Another trend the figures seemed to point to was the growing number of alleged rape and attempted rape offences that were reported over the last 10 years - however this could be down to more victims coming forward.

In 2005 police recorded three reports of rape in the former Cookstown district area, while between 2014-15 three times as many alleged offences [10] were reported in the same region.

Dungannon & South Tyrone had the highest number of rape reports across all three districts with 122 reported over the last 10 years - a 40% increase on Cookstown [87] and 46% on Magherafelt [83].

In all three former district areas the number of rapes reported over the years has steadily increased.

In Magherafelt a total of 12 rapes and attempted rapes were recorded by officers, while in Dungannon 15 people told police they were victims of this type of crime.

The PSNI has faced criticism in the past for its Be Smart campaign, which included guidance on how to avoid becoming a victim of rape.

Blasted on social media for advising potential victims how to prevent such an attack, some critics suggested police should instead be targeting the perpetrators.

Much like the new anti-rape campaign that takes aim at the view women wearing certain kinds of clothing “were asking for it”.

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Police take rape ‘very seriously’

A spokesperson for PSNI said: “Reports of rape and serious sexual assaults are taken very seriously by police.

“The PSNI has a specially trained team of detectives in the Rape Crime Unit, as well as detectives in Public Protection Units.

“Rape shouldn’t happen to anyone. If you find yourself the victim of sexual assault we want you to remember it isn’t your fault, however you need to inform someone as soon as possible to ensure you get the support you need.

“Sexual offences are an area that experiences under reporting. We see the improvement in reporting of offences to the PSNI as a positive indicator in our approach to dealing with victims. We continue to strive to improve this service and have undertaken victim survey with adult rape victims; to help us further refine these services.”