MORE than 5,000 sexual crimes including rape were recorded across Cheshire over a 12-month period, data has revealed.

From April 2017 to March 2018 there were 5,414 reports made to Cheshire Police.

The figures were published to mark Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

Organisations across the UK, including Cheshire Police, are supporting the week’s message that all forms of sexual abuse and sexual violence are unacceptable.

Detective inspector Sean Lonergan, from the constabulary’s dedicated rape unit, said: “Rape and sexual assault are two of the most serious of all criminal offences.

"They can inflict lasting trauma on victims and have a devastating effect on their families.

“There is a general perception that most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by men against women and they are not known to each other.

"In fact, the majority of rape victims know their offender, and rape is an offence committed against men and women.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “We know that rape and sexual abuse are particularly distressing crimes for the victim.

"The effects can be long-lasting and require specialised support to help victims to be able to cope and to work through to recovery."