1 Apr 2015

Sex assaults rise as crime rate falls

1:56 pm on 1 April 2015

The number of sexual assaults jumped last year though the overall crime rate fell.

Figures released by Statistics New Zealand and the police show the crime rate dropped in 2014 by 2.8 percent compared to the previous year. There were 350,389 recorded offences last year compared to 360,411 in 2013.

However the rate of sexual assault complaints went up again, rising 3.5 percent in 2014, following an an 11 percent increase the year before.

Last year, there were 4056 sexual assault offences recorded.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Grant Nicholls said the increasing rate remained a concern for the police.

"We believe that historically sexual violence has been under-reported to authorities," he said.

"Police are heartened that victims of this type of crime are coming forward and we want to assure them that police take all complaints of sexual violence seriously."

Other crimes that increased included assault, fraud, kidnapping and abduction.

Public order offences, such as disorderly conduct, dropped by more than 25 percent, from 35,850 in 2013 to 26,751 last year.

Homicide charges fell by more than 20 percent compared to 2013.

Today's release is the final edition of the Recorded and Resolved Offence Statistics.

The new Recorded Crime Victimisation Statistics (RCVS) is now in operation, which Mr Nicholls said would provide a greater focus on victims.

"They provide valuable insight into demographic attributes of victims including the relationship between victim and offender. RCVS also creates a more detailed picture of intimate partner violence, child assaults (physical & sexual) & elder abuse," he said.

Read a full breakdown of the 2014 crime statistics here.

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