The number of sexual crimes in the Scottish Borders has risen by more than a quarter.
During April, May, and June of this year, there were 65 reported sexual crimes in the region, amounting to more than one sexual crime per every 1,800 Borders residents.
This is an increase of 27% on the figures for the same period in 2018, when there were 51 reported sexual crimes.
Included in these figures are 12 reported rapes, up from nine over the same period last year, and an increase in sexual assaults, from 20 in the first quarter of 2018 to 27 over the same period in 2019.
There was also a marked increase in lewd and libidinous crimes, which are sexual assaults on children under the age of puberty. These incidents have increased from two in quarter one of 2018 to 11 during quarter one of this year.
A report, due to go before councillors at a meeting of the police, fire and rescue board on Friday August 30, says that sexual crimes are actually under reported.
It reads: “Tackling criminality that poses the greatest threat and risk is, and will always be, a priority for officers in the Scottish Borders.
“Rape and sexual crime is an area of focus in terms of providing confidence to report, undertaking professional investigations, providing victim support, pursuing perpetrators and managing offenders.
“A quarter one comparison between last year and this year for sexual crime in the Scottish Borders shows the following a 27.5% increase in sexual crime.
“The crime showing the largest increase for quarter is lewd and libidinous practices which has risen by 450%: two recorded in quarter one last year and 11 recorded in quarter one this year.
“The investigation of sexual crime, alongside the management of offenders and the support of victims, is achieved through close partnership working.
“The support offered to victims of sexual crime by partner agencies is essential and we continue to refer victims to these agencies.
“We know that rape and sexual crime remains under reported and it is only through that work with partners can we help to give victims the confidence to report.”