Sex offenders account for almost half of the increase in people in jail, Chris Grayling suggests

The most recent police figures show a 17 per cent rise in numbers of reports of sex offences between 2012 and 2013

Deputy Political Editor

A dramatic surge in numbers of sex attackers being jailed – many for historic child abuse cases – has helped to drive the prison population to a record high, the Justice Secretary said yesterday.

Chris Grayling suggested that sex offenders including paedophiles accounted for almost half of the increase in people in jail over the last year.

Police and charities have said more victims are coming forward to report sex offences following the exposure of the abuse committed by Jimmy Savile and other high profile figures.

Mr Grayling said the trend had been reflected in English and Welsh prisons, whose population has jumped by about 1,600 in the last year.

He told the Commons justice select committee that 700 of the increase was accounted for by sex offenders.

He explained that there was a range of factors for the rising numbers behind bars, but added: “The most obvious change is there’s been quite a big increase in the number of sex offenders coming into our prisons, many of them historic sex abuse cases.

“I think it is something like 700 new people in our prisons in that category.”

The most recent police figures show a 17 per cent rise in numbers of reports of sex offences between 2012 and 2013. The upward trend is in contrast to falls for nearly every other category of crime.

Video: Grayling: offenders will go to jail 'in greater numbers'

Police recorded 13,090 sexual offences involving a child under the age of 13, the highest total for a decade, and a 32 per cent rise on the previous 12 months. They include a 54 per cent increase in rapes and sexual assaults on boys aged under 13 and a 25 per cent increase in sexual attacks on girls aged under 13.

Statisticians said the increases were believed to be linked to the publicity surrounding the Savile case, whose prolific offending was first exposed in the autumn of 2012, as well as other celebrities.

Groups working with victims of abuse now feel more confident about speaking out.

The NSPCC said numbers of people ringing its helpline leapt by 60 per cent after Savile’s crimes were revealed in a television documentary nearly two years ago. It said around 40 per cent were passed to police or social services for further investigation.

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer
film

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital