A BARNSLEY charity is predicting that it will see 50 and 100 per cent rises in reports of serious sexual assaults - including rape - against adults and children.

Barnsley Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Service (BSARCS) said numbers of people seeking support for such crimes against adults were likely to rise based on statistics collected since April 1, 2013.

BSARCS, which runs a telephone helpline, counselling and advocacy services, recently started a service for children and will help around 750 adults and 120 children in 2013.

Spokesman Lynne Casserly said that more convictions, particularly in high profile cases, were contributing to more sexual assaults being reported.

 

BSARCS is preparing to deal with this rise in clients. It has won £118,000 in Comic Relief funding to pay for a specialist counsellor and a new post. The new trainer will work with children and young people on what is a healthy relationship as well as what is harmful or illegal.

Lynne said: "It's not only young people that need more information. Sexual offences are increasing because of the rise of online dating and the casual exchange of personal information via social media."

She said sites like Facebook have an impact, as do 'vile' myths about women such as 'women say no when they mean yes' and that they lie about being raped.

Lynne added: "It was only in 1991 that it was made unlawful for a man to rape his wife within marriage - that's what we're having to work against.

"We think our estimates of increasing reports of sexual crimes are actually conservative."

Around half of BSARCS clients have experienced rape and around 50 per cent have been sexually assaulted.