The Non-recent Abuse Investigation Team (NRAIT) will investigate cases of abuse that happened more than one year ago at the time of reporting, focusing on institutions and organisations where suspects have been in a position of trust.
The NRAIT team will focus on abuse that has taken place in institutions and by high-profile suspects. Our Serious Crime Teams and Major Investigation Team will still investigate recent sexual crimes in their areas and non-recent sexual crimes involving individuals who are not high-profile.
The department was set up as part of a £3m strategy to improve protection for vulnerable people which was announced in February 2016 by Chief Constable Dave Jones and Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.
The team is overseen by Detective Chief Inspector Allan Harder, and comprises a detective sergeant, two detective constables and four police staff investigators, with a further two investigators to be recruited next year. Between them they have years of investigative experience including serious and major crimes, and investigations involving the protection of vulnerable people.
DCI Harder said: The new team will build on their collective expertise and knowledge to provide a bespoke service to victims of what can be the most harrowing and life-changing crimes. We know sexual abuse is under-reported but we are now seeing an increase in reports to the police, which is a good thing, as it means that people have more confidence in the criminal justice system and more people are accessing the support that is available to them through the agencies who work alongside the police.
We urge anyone who is the victim of sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago it happened. Your information could also trigger measures that are put in place to protect other victims, and help to inform a bigger picture of offending. Both of which can help to protect and potentially reduce the risk to future victims.
We know it takes a lot of courage for people to call us or walk into a police station, but I would like to offer the reassurance that we have specially trained officers who will support you through the process as well as offering you the support provided by other agencies.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, added: The impact of sexual abuse can have repercussions for victims over many years. Our Supporting Victims team are dedicated to helping anyone who has suffered abuse in the past, and I would encourage people to contact them, whether or not they have reported to the police.
I am glad to see that North Yorkshire Police continues to take this matter very seriously. I hope to see this new team working with our communities to increase reporting, especially where vulnerable people are most isolated.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, no matter when, call your local police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, please call 999. If you prefer not to go direct to the police and you are not in immediate danger, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in your area.
Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s SARC can be contacted on 01904 669339.
You can also contact our Supporting Victims Unit direct at supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.