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Booze-fuelled sex attacks figures in Hackney highest in country

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 September 2010

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BOOZE-fuelled sex attacks are more common in Hackney than anywhere else in the country, shock figures show.

A new report has estimated that for every 1,000 people under the care of City and Hackney Primary Care Trust, 0.3 were arrested in the past financial year for alcohol-related sexual assaults, including rape and flashing.

The figures were released in a survey published last week by the North West Public Health Observatory, which put Hackney top of the 152 primary care trusts in England, with Nottingham City second and Westminster third.

Hackney also came second out of 325 local authorities surveyed in England for the same offences. City of London had the highest rate in the report.

Kathie Dryden, area manager at Victim Support’s London centre in Finsbury Square, said the charity had noticed the increase and said that added innovation was needed to tackle the violence.

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said more needed to be done.

“Areas in Hackney such as Shoreditch, Dalston and parts of Stoke Newington are all popular spots on weekends to go out drinking, which probably accounts for the high number of reported sexual incidents related to alcohol,” she said.

“I know Hackney police and Hackney Council are already doing a lot to combat this, including cracking down on drinking in the street and having officers policing popular areas on weekends. But these figures show more needs to be done.”

Chief Supt Steve Bending, Hackney’s borough polce commander, said the figures, which had increased for the fourth year in a row, were worrying, but pledged to tackle them.

“Early intervention, high-profile policing and the targeting of problem premises are just a few of the many tactics Hackney police is using to deal with this issue,” he said.

Hackney Council told the Gazette that cutting the offences remained a priority while an NHS spokeswoman said a significant amount of public money was currently being spent on reducing the harm caused by alcohol and that primary care trust workers would be raising awareness of the dangers of binge drinking as the festive season approaches.

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