SEXUAL crime in West Dunbartonshire is up by a staggering 67.5 per cent, a bombshell report has revealed.

And the numbers of alleged incidents being reported to cops is more than double the five-year average.

The report, details figures from the first quarter of this financial year (April to June) and

compared to figures from the same period last year.

It will be presented to members of Community Planning West Dunbartonshire Management Board this Thursday.

The increase has been described as a "significant and worrying increase" by a leading campaign group against sexual violence.

In a chilling admission, the report says the majority of rape crimes occurred within the victim's home with a "high percentage" committed by a partner or spouse.

West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty has described the latest statistics as "concerning" while Dumbarton and the Vale's MSP Jackie Baillie labelled the increase "alarming."

In her report Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, the local police commander, states: "The total number of crimes recorded during Quarter 1 increased from 40 to 67 compared to the same period last year.

"This represents an increase of 67.5 per cent year on year, with figures remaining more than double the five-year average."

Historical allegations and the rise in crimes relating to "indecent communication/images" do, however, play a part in the increased figures.

The Chief Superintendent says: "Increased crime levels are primarily due to a rise in the number of rape crimes recorded and crimes relating to indecent communication/images.

"The majority of rape crimes have occurred within residential dwelling homes with a high percentage committed by a partner/spouse. Almost 40 per cent

were historical reports."

Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "This is a significant and worrying increase in sexual crime. Crime of this nature - and particularly rape - is underreported."

Leven ward councillor Jim Bollan said: "The year on year increase in sex crimes is very worrying."

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, said: “Sex crimes including rape and the sharing of indecent images are abhorrent and the increase in these crimes is concerning.

"Almost 40 per cent of recorded rape crimes locally were historical reports and this reflects a national picture where increasing numbers of victims are coming forward to report abuse."

MSP Jackie Baillie said: "It is alarming to note such a steep increase in rapes and sexual violence in West Dunbartonshire over the last year, especially when a high percentage of reported rapes occur at home with a spouse or partner."

A Police Scotland spokesperson added: "Sexual crime has a long term devastating affect and we are committed to supporting those who have suffered.

"We recognise how difficult it can be to report sexual crime and we have specially trained officers who are here to help and support you."