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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week