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Redcar law firm finds male rape on the increase in Middlesbrough

Research conducted by Redcar-based law firm, Cygnet Law, has revealed that the number of men reporting rape in Middlesbrough has almost tripled since 2015.

The Freedom of Information request, obtained from Cleveland Police, found that 34 Middlesbrough men reported being the victim of a rape in 2017 compared with 13 in 2015. The number increased by 75% in 2016 to 22, before increasing by a further 35% last year.

The study also found that reports of male rape have increased across Teesside as a whole, with 55 cases in Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, and Middlesbrough in 2015, rising to 73 reported incidents in 2017.

Following the recent storyline in Coronation Street, focusing on the rape of David Platt, it is reported by charity Male Survivor that there has been an increase of 1700% of calls to its helpline. This could potentially lead to a further increase in reports by the end of 2018.

Stacey Phoenix, a solicitor at Cygnet Law, said: “Male rape has always been a stigmatised crime, as victims can often feel emasculated and reluctant to come forward. We will always remind clients that being a victim of any form of sexual assault has nothing to do with sexuality, it is about an abuse of power on the part of the perpetrator.

“We deal with a number of sexual assault cases each year, and understand the importance of making the victims feel at ease when they talk to us, so that we can establish all the facts. We appreciate how difficult it is for survivors to relive the events, so we will always do what we can to be supportive and help them to make their case.”

Stacey added: “I think the recent storyline in Coronation Street is huge for all rape victims, as it shows the feelings they can have, including guilt, shame, and a reluctance to come forward are ‘normal’ and, most importantly, survivable. It is also important that David was believed when he confided in someone, as this is a big fear for many victims.

“We certainly hope that this increase in the number of reported incidents is reflective of more people having the confidence to come forward and tell someone what has happened. This is an important step forward, and I’m sure the Coronation Street storyline will encourage more reports in the future.”

The Freedom of Information Request was sourced from Cleveland Police, and covered the period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017.