Police criticise rape statistics report that places Bermuda fifth in the world
A report that Bermuda ranked fifth in the world for rape offences was today attacked by the island’s top police officer.
Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said the report, published on Facebook, was misleading “to some degree” because the Bermuda statistics included all sex offences – not just rape or attempted rape.
Mr Corbishley said: “Within this category is included acts such as ’flashing’ – that is with no contact to a victim – or ’groping’, as well as cyber grooming.”
He added these were “all very serious matters, but very different in type and victimisation”.
Mr Corbishley said the number of reported sexual assaults in Bermuda “over the past years” had varied from 26 to 58 a year.
He added that one victim could be the “subject of a number of recorded offences against them”.
But Mr Corbishley admitted the number of rapes reported to police and other agencies were “far fewer than the reality”.
Mr Corbishley said that victims were reluctant to come forward because they were “afraid to report or find themselves in situations, for example abusive relationships, where such disclosure would lead to further violent and coercive acts being done to them”.
But he added: “However, the BPS is not complacent in this regard with the previously stated belief that many offences are not reported.
“Indeed, as Commissioner, I would see a rise in the reporting of these offences as indicative of greater confidence by the victims to step forward.”
Mr Corbishley highlighted that “stranger attacks” were not common in Bermuda.
The statistics on Facebook came from a website called World Population Review.
Mr Corbishley said an investigation into a recent serious sexual assault of that type on a woman at Point Shares, off Pitts Bay Road in Pembroke, continued, but that they were “extremely rare”.
He added: “However it is essential that the BPS and other and its partner services manage effectively the risk presented by a small number of individuals within our communities that are known and registered sex offenders.”
He said that the information reported on did not include sex assaults against children, which were “captured in a separate crime category”.
Mr Corbishley added: “Again, this is a most serious category of offending where I share the belief held by many agencies in Bermuda, such as Scars and the Coalition for the Protection of Children, that there is considerable and worrying under-reporting in this area.”
He said: “The BPS and many other partner agencies in Bermuda are there to support victims of rape and any sexual offences against them.
“Rape is a horrific crime for anyone to suffer and causes long-lasting and often irreparable damage to the victim, beyond the physical act itself.”