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Sex attacks on the rise in Austria

It includes a high over the New Year period when 24 cases were reported even though at the time police had denied there had been any incidents. They later admitted lying in order to protect the privacy of the victims, but rejected a suggestion that they had been ordered to cover what had happened by politicians.

It is unclear how many of the growing number of sex attacks can be blamed on foreigners. The statistics show that in January there were 343 complaints about sex-related incidents. In 175 cases, Austrians are under suspicion. A further 25 have involved concrete charges being made against asylum seekers. Another 43 involve foreigners from other parts of the world including Turkey, Macedonia and Germany. There was no information about the 100 remaining sex attacks included in the report.

Of the sex attacks, 61 were rapes, in which 38 cases Austrians are suspected of being the attackers. Six are suspected of being asylum seekers, including two from Syria and one from Iraq. The ages of those accused range from 11 through to 82. Again, there was no information on the remaining 17 rapes.

Police have pledged to react to the growing problem by increasing the use of video surveillance technology, and also to offer more advice to women and girls about keeping themselves safe and also urging them to report any incidents quickly.

When the figures were revealed, one Austrian newspaper noted how they had been accused of lying when they initially reported the problem.

On 7 January, tabloid newspaper Osterreich had revealed that sex attacks had not just been carried out in the German city of Cologne, but also in Austria where there had been systematic attacks by young refugees on women in the country.

But the newspaper’s reporter Victoria Bichler had then been subjected to a campaign of abuse including the suggestion that she had simply made up her report.

However, in an answer to an official parliamentary question today by the opposition Team Stronach Party, the paper says that its original story was not only proved correct, but in fact the real situation was far worse than even they had realised.

In total, according to the parliamentary answer, there were 24 sexual assaults on women over the New Year at the time when Austrian police were claiming there had been none.

The Interior Ministry statement said: “Vienna and Salzburg were the cities with the biggest problem. Most of the sex attacks happened on women at public events. They were targeted mostly by small groups of asylum seekers who, after surrounding them, then attacked.”

Until the official reply, only half of the attacks had been ever reported in Austrian media.

Questioned by the newspaper about why they kept them secret, a police spokesman said that the right to privacy of the victim took priority over the right of the public to know about the incidents.

They also rejected any suggestion that politicians had ordered them to cover up the extent of crimes by asylum seekers.

Via: thelocal.at

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