Nearly one in two rapes reported to Cumbria police in the past 12 months took place in a domestic setting.
New figures released show between April 2021 to last week, 339 rapes involving adults were reported in Cumbria. Of these, 151 – 44% - happened in private homes.
The findings were published as police launched a drive to raise awareness of the often under reported and unseen issue of sex assault perpetrated by husbands, wives or partners.
Throughout this month they are working to raise awareness of this issue, encourage people who suffer sexual violence to come forward and to shine a spotlight on the help and support out there.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Coombes, Cumbria Constabulary’s lead officer on rape and serious sexual offences said: "Rape and serious sexual offences are life-changing. They can devastate individuals, their families and the wider community.
"There are so many myths when it comes to consent, particularly in a domestic setting. Sexual consent is where a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. The person seeking or initiating sex is responsible for ensuring they have consent.
"Sex without consent is rape. This is no different if you are married or in a relationship with someone.
"And if someone is scared, intimidated or intoxicated through drink or drugs then consent often can’t be given."
Between April 2020 and April 2021, 305 rapes involving adults were reported in Cumbria and of these, 145 (47%) of them were in a domestic setting.
Between April 2021 to last week, 339 rapes involving adults were reported in Cumbria. Of these, 151 (44%) were in a domestic setting.
DCI Coombes explained The Bridgeway is the county’s dedicated SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre).
Anyone who attends The Bridgeway will receive non-judgemental care and advice, including a full forensic medical examination and onward referrals to essential support services, whether they have reported to the police or attended as a self-referral.
Donna Cardell, manager at The Bridgeway said: "At The Bridgeway, we are pleased to be supporting the Cumbria Constabulary campaign this month.
"Rape and sexual assault and domestic violence so often go hand-in-hand and the victims often find it difficult to report or sometimes don’t even realise that what they are experiencing is sexual abuse.
"Anyone who has experienced rape or sexual assault can attend The Bridgeway whether they have reported to the police or not."
Victims are able to report the crime to the police by calling 101 or 999 if an emergency or the crime is in process.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "Rape and sexual assault can have devastating effects on someone’s life, and this can be made worse when the perpetrator is someone that was trusted, such as a romantic partner or family member.
"The message needs to be very clear: Sexual contact without explicit consent is illegal."
He added: "Sexual activity is not a right in any relationship and just because someone agrees to sex or sexual activity once does not mean they have given lifetime consent – each interaction needs consent.
"I would always urge anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted to report it to the police. Your report will be taken seriously."