Police data from the most recent release of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) crime survey continues to show a worrying rise in the number of recorded sexual offences, with an increase of 29 per cent in all sexual offences for the year ending December 2015. This is an equivalent of an additional recorded sexual offences compared with the previous year (up from 80,265 to 103,614) and brings the total to over 100,000 in a single year for the first time. Within this, the number of offences of rape increased by 30 per cent (up to 34,741) and other sexual offences by 29 per cent (up to 68,873). The number of sexual offences are at the highest level recorded since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in the year ending March 2003

Sarah Champion MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse and Domestic Violence, said:

This is an incredibly worrying increase in the number of reported sexual offences and incidents of rape. I have consistently told the Government that sexual offences are increasing and these figures prove it.

We know that the increase will be partly down to improvements in police recording and the bravery of victims willing to come forward, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Sexual crimes have a devastating impact on the lives of the victims, but it is not an inevitable crime. The Government must do more to prevent sexual offences from happening in the first place.

Young boys and girls are bombarded with highly sexualised imagery and the normalisation of violence in sex through advertising and online pornography. The Government must challenge these dangerous messages and heed the evidence and advice of MPs, four Select Committees and numerous charities by introducing mandatory relationship education in all schools. This will help to safeguard young people and support them to understand what a healthy and respectful relationship looks like.

You can also read Sarah's reaction here and find links to the ONS survey here