Shocking figures have revealed that police have received 113 reports of rape in Hyndburn over the last five years.
The figures, released to the Observer by Lancashire Police, show that more than a third of those reported have been cases of child rape.
Police have confirmed that the reports have risen by 20 per cent since 2009 and have said that there has been action taken against 43 offenders.
The number of reports made across Lancashire has increased from 291 in 2009 to 566 in 2013 and police have taken action in more than 600 cases.
Irene Alderson, who runs the Magdalene Project which helps victims of rape across East Lancashire, said she was not surprised by the figures.
Irene, who founded the project 15 years ago with a friend, said: “Judging by the amount of referrals to us, I am not surprised by the figures.
“It’s hard to know whether the number of rapes are up or whether people just feel more confident and able to report it.”
Irene, who previously worked for victim support as a counsellor, said there was a need for a service like the Magdalene Project in East Lancashire.
She added: “We have currently got 80 people on the books and a third of those we see are men. It’s very challenging and it does take a lot out of our counsellors, especially with some of the horrific stories of abuse we listen to. I would encourage victims to take that first step and come forward to us.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones, said: “I think in the last few decades women have become more empowered and are more willing to come forward.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I want victims of rape to feel confident in reporting the crime and to know they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect throughout the investigation.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Lancashire Constabulary is committed to preventing and detecting offences of rape and serious sexual assault.
“We want victims to feel confident that they will be treated with compassion and that we will do everything possible to trace those responsible and take action against them.
“Most of the reports of rape that we receive are committed by someone that the victim knows in some way. Incidents of stranger rape are very rare.
“Investigations of rape usually identify the offender as being a family member, a friend, someone who has groomed them before committing the attack or someone they have met on a night out.
“All of these factors can often make it hard for a victim to want to report the crime. Throughout our involvement in a report of rape, and its subsequent investigation, we offer a victim-centred approach.
“Rape is a traumatic crime and the victim is at the heart of everything that we do.”