Sexual assaults reported to police in the region during the months from January to September this year grew by 41.5%. A total of 1,623 sexually-related crimes were reported, among them 170 rapes, which is 24.1% more than the same period in 2020.
These figures come from a crime evaluation report published by the Interior Ministry this week. The report also revealed a total of 12,638 sexual crimes recorded nationally during the same period of which 1,601 were rapes. In 2020 these figures were considerably lower, 9,951 sexual assoults of which 1,226 were recorded as rape. We must of course remember that the country was in lockdown for a considerable amount of 2020.
While we are still in the grips of the pandemic, and there have been some restrictions this year, life is slightly more normal so a comparison to pre-pamdemic 2019 might be more relevant.
During the period January to September 2019, there were 11,571 sexual assaults of which 1,405 were rapes, still below the figures which have just been released for 2021.
So are we seeing more sexual assaults or is it simply that more are being reported to the police?
The Interior ministry’s report points out that the increase in sexual crimes which have been recorded “must be seen in relation to the political activities which have made victims more likely to come forward and report these crimes.”
Authorities have been encouraging victims of crime to come forward, with initiatives like the Puntos violetas which are set up during events like Las Fallas.
The only regions where there was a decrease in sexual assaults recorded were Navarra and La Rioja, which saw drops of 5 and 7.4% respectively. Meanwhile the largest increases in reported sexual crimes was in Cantabria (56.1%), Aragón (53.6%) and the Valencia Region (41.5%).
However, if we just look at rapes recorded, Asturias has seen far and away the largest rise in cases, with an increase of 154.5%. The next largest increase in rapes recorded is in Navarra which has had a 78.6% increase.
In absolute terms, Catalonia is the region with the highest number of rapes, 462 from January to September this year, which is almost one in every four rapes nationally.