THE number of adult rapes reported in Gwent in 2012/13 was the highest for four years, according to figures released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, on behalf of the Rape Monitoring Group.

The rate at which adult rapes were reported in Gwent in the 12 months to March 2013 were higher than the national average in England and Wales, but the conviction rate was also higher than the average.

The number of adult rapes in Gwent which were later declassified as another type of crime was lower than the English and Welsh average.

Rape is a crime which goes under-reported by up to 85 per cent, the report warned.

According to data from the 12 months to the end of March 2013, 116 adult rape offences were reported in Gwent, compared to 103 in 2012, 92 in 2011, 111 in 2010, and 95 in 2009.

This means that per 100,000 adult population, Gwent ranked ninth out of 43 police forces in England and Wales, higher than South Wales and Dyfed-Powys but lower than North Wales, which ranked third.

Figures show that 82 child rape offences were reported last year, compared to 95 in 2012; 96 in 2011; 74 in 2010; and 59 in 2009.

This meant that per 100,000 child population, Gwent ranked seventh out of 43 police force areas for the number of child rapes reported, and for the conviction rate at which the crimes were solved.

Around 40 per cent of child rape offences were punished in the 12 months to March 2013, a three-year high.

The rate at which adult rape crimes were solved or which led to conviction in Gwent was at a four-year low at the end of March 2013, at 19 per cent, compared to the English and Welsh average of 18 per cent.

This meant Gwent ranked 15th out of 43 police force areas.

The rate at which rapes were later declassified was lower in Gwent than nationally, at nine per cent, compared to a 12 per cent national average which means Gwent ranks 26th out of 43 forces.

This was a sharp drop from the previous year when 29 per cent of adult rapes reported in Gwent were later declassified.

For child rape offences in the 12 months until March 2013, just one per cent of reported cases did not lead to a conviction, a four-year low.