News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – A recent report shared on Facebook suggested that Bermuda sits 5th in the world in relation to offences of rape.
In a statement released by the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) on Monday (October 19), Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley. said: “The BPS and many other partner agencies in Bermuda are there to support victims of rape and any sexual offence 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.
“Additionally, the number of rapes reported to police and other agencies are far fewer than the reality, not least as many victims are 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.
“However, the article in question is misleading to some degree, as the data relied upon for Bermuda includes all sexual offences and not just the act of rape (attempted or otherwise).
“Within this category is included acts such as ‘flashing’ (ie with no contact to a victim) or ‘groping’ as well as cyber grooming. All very serious matters but very different in type and victimization,” said Mr Corbishley.
“The actual numbers of reported sexual assaults in Bermuda, has ranged from approximately 26 to 58 over the past years, noting that one victim can be subject of a number of recorded offences against them.
“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 rise in the reporting of these offences as indicative of greater confidence by victims to step forward.
“It is also essential to note, with confidence, that stranger attacks are extremely rare.
“Whilst an investigation into such a matter that took place recently at Point Shares continues, the likelihood of being a victim to a ‘stranger attack’ is extremely low.
“However, it is essential that the BPS 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.
“Finally, it also should be noted, that the data reported does not include sexual assault against children, which is captured in a separate crime category, Offences Against Children.
“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.
Anyone who has suffered sexual assault can contact the police in confidence.