Reported sexual assaults on girls aged 13 and over increase by more than half

The number of reported sexual assaults' on girls aged 13 and over in Northern Ireland has increased by 58.8% on the previous year.

There were also 267 reports of sexual assaults' on girls aged under 13.

The data comes from the PSNI figures correlated in the annual End Violence Against Women Coalition snapshot report, which collects data from across the United Kingdom.

The report also highlights that the Public Prosecution Service received 600 files for suspected rape offences in 2021/22, amounting to an increase of 3.8% on the year before.

The prosecution rate for such offences was up from 11.4% in 2020/21 to 17.2% in 2021/22.

The report also highlights an increase of 5.3% in the number of reported domestic abuse incidents in the 12 months from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022.

On a wider UK level the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) suggests the cost of living crisis is leaving women facing an impossible choice of staying with a perpetrator or facing destitution.

Andrea Simon, Director of EVAW, said: “Men’s violence against women doesn’t happen in a vacuum. With any major crisis affecting society, we will see an inevitable secondary crisis for women and girls experiencing abuse.

"Just as the Covid-19 pandemic created a conducive context for domestic abusers to operate, the cost of living crisis has also disproportionately impacted women who have had to make unthinkable decisions about staying in dangerous situations, for fear of being unable to survive otherwise," she added.

"The cost of living crisis has highlighted how women's economic inequality, and other forms of discrimination such as racism and ableism, heighten women's experiences and vulnerability to male violence.

"In addition, the crisis has exposed and exacerbated the chronic underfunding of vital frontline support services - impacting the lives of survivors and their routes to a life free from abuse".

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