Hundreds of sexual abuse cases go unreported every year in Doncaster, experts believe.
Doncaster Council bosses estimate 262 cases went unreported this year - compared to a figure of 452 complaints which were passed on to the authorities.
The numbers are based on estimates that 58 per cent of sexual abuse is never reported.
Doncaster’s Safer and Stronger Communities Partnership says it now wants to know more about the extent of the problem locally, and how best to meet the needs of victims.
The partnership is urging people to tell them of their experiences via an online survey at www.doncaster.gov.uk/sexualabuse. Anyone completing the survey will not be asked to provide their name or personal details so does not have fear being identified.
Between today and August 15, anyone over 18 who has been affected by sexual abuse is asked to say what happened and what, if anything, stopped them reporting the abuse. The plan is to find ways of breaking down barriers and encourage reporting.
Coun Joe Blackham, Cabinet Member for community safety and neighbourhoods, said: “Over the last 18 months there has been an unprecedented increase in reporting of sexual violence and abuse following some high profile celebrity cases.
“However we know it is still under reported. Sexual abuse can range from harassment to serious sexual assault and rape. People don’t have to tolerate this, and the partnership is there to provide support.”
A 26-year-old Doncaster woman who received support when she reported sexual abuse added: “After being raped, beaten and strangled by my boyfriend at 19, I reported my experience to the police.
“This was a very difficult decision as I blamed myself for what happened and didn’t think I would be believed.
“But I was, and I realised I deserved to be treated better. I was kept informed of the progress of the case, and understood what was going on.”