A CHARITY supporting the victims of rape have urged survivors to come forward. 

It comes after the latest figures from Police Scotland showed that the number of reported rapes had fallen during lockdown.

Rape Crisis Scotland said the figures were "unsurprising" and noted the difficulties the pandemic had created for victims in coming forward. 

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Both agreed that just because rapes were being reported less did not mean that they were not happening.

Cops urged victims to come forward and said they were committed to helping victims of recent and historical assaults.

Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton suggested that lockdown and a lack of social mingling over the period covered by the data - March 24 to July 5 - could have led to a decrease in offences. 

She said: “While this data shows a clear reduction in reports of recent rape and sexual crime during lockdown, it is too early to draw conclusions as to why this might be.

“What we do know is that the vast majority of rape and sexual crime is committed by someone known to the victim.

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“More than half of rapes reported to us occur within a relationship, whether that’s during the early stages of dating or in longer-term relationships. Most of those reports are made by women and girls.”

She stressed that people in relationships were “not entitled to sex” and sex without consent was criminal.

During lockdown, 529 rapes were recorded by police, down 20.2% on last year. As lockdown has eased, reports recent and historical have increased but were still down between March 24 and November 15.

Lockdown has also posed problems for rape survivors to access support which often helps people come forward to report crimes.

The head of Rape Crisis, Sandy Brindley, said: “These figures are not surprising, and Police Scotland are right to highlight that an absence of reports does not mean that the crimes were not taking place.

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"Lockdown has been incredibly tough for so many people, and for survivors it’s posed real challenges in accessing support and - for those who choose to report – going to the police. 

“We want every single survivor to know that no matter what happened or when, whether they want to report or not, Rape Crisis support is here. Our helpline is open nightly from 6pm – midnight on 08088 01 03 02.”