CASES of child rape are on the increase in Cheshire, latest figures have revealed.

According to Her Majesty′s Inspectorate of Constabularies, there has been an increase in rape offences against adults and children.

The report uses statistics released by the Rape Monitoring Group, covering a 12 month period, up to the end of March 2013.

It shows there were 98 children reported to have been raped.

That was up from 87 in 2012, and 62 in 2011.

Police say the increase is due to victims feeling more able to come forward.

During the same period, there were 142 rapes reported, compared to 129 in 2012, and 108 in 2011.

Ass Chf Con Ruth Purdie said: "Cheshire Police welcomes the publication of this data.

"We are committed to working with our partner agencies to support victims of rape and bring offenders to justice.

"We encourage anyone who has been a victim of rape to come forward with the assurance that we will take their report seriously and investigate it rigorously."

Det Chf Insp Nigel Wenham, of Cheshire Police’s Strategic Public Protection Unit, said: "Cheshire Police has a dedicated rape unit which is made up of trained detectives who respond to and deal with all reported rapes.

“The unit works alongside a team of co-located specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to develop strategies around cases and secure prosecutions.

"Cheshire Police works closely with St Mary′s Sexual Assault Referral Centre and the Rape and Serious Sexual Assault Support Service to ensure victims of rape receive the support they need during this traumatic time.”

The report also showed the detection rate - when a suspect is charged - was 14 per cent for adult victims, and 22 per cent for children.