In the course of my day at work I go through a lot of statistics for one reason or another. This one surprised me, from the police recorded crime statistics (XLS):
In 2007/08 the police recorded 1,899 incidents of rape of a child under the age of 13.
That's far higher than I would have expected, the high hundreds at most. At work, I asked around and everyone else was equally shocked. The number is particularly high when you bear in mind that it is recorded crime and, as we are talking about a sexual offence, almost certainly a severe underestimate.
Now, a common theory for why the public see crime as such a serious issue is that they overestimate its prevalence because of sensationalist news reporting. We see the reports and assume they represent a broader pattern, fall victim to the distortions of the availability heuristic.
If an entire office of people with plenty of exposure to the right-wing press could make the opposite error about a crime that is clearly, in a horrible way, sensational doesn't that raise some broader questions about that hypothesis?