Detective Superintendent Helen Barker, VAWG lead, said: “Cleveland Police is joining other Forces around the country in an academically evidenced approach to dealing with sexual offences and rape, known as Operation Soteria.
“Victims will continue to be supported throughout the process, from reporting through to court, having a single point of contact to provide continuity and specialist knowledge throughout what can be a lengthy and traumatic process. However, the behaviour of perpetrators in grooming and controlling their victims will rightly receive greater focus, with those who investigate rape being given additional training to support this truly transformational change.
“In Cleveland, reports of rape increased by 7% in the twelve months up to May 2023 and the number of cases solved also increased when compared to the previous twelve months. The 6.8% of rape cases solved is higher than the national average.
“Around 92% of victims of rape in Cleveland are female and we continue to tackle the wide range of offences against women, aligned with our Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.
“The Force is working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and our neighbouring force, Durham Constabulary, who were a PILOT force, to understand the changes which need to be implemented.”