Monday, March 3, 2014

What Are the Latest Stats on Sexual Violence and What do They Mean?

Ten self-defense instructors certified by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation met via a phone conference call to discuss the March 2013 publication of a Special Report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010” (Planty et al 2013).

We noted that consistent across the time-span is that women and girls are more likely to be attacked than men (91% female). Most attackers know the women or girl they attack (78%) and attacks are more likely to occur near or in the home of a victim or someone she knows (67%). Single, unarmed attackers are more common than armed (11%) or multiple attackers (10%).

Self-defense instructors pondered what it means that completion of sexually violent acts has declined in the last 15 years, although attempted rapes has stayed the same. We noted that this decline is consistent with a drop for other types of crime and hope future research will investigate the extent to which self-defense training and other violence prevention work has influenced the reduction in completed acts of sexual violence.

Major highlights:

· From 1995 to 2010, the estimated annual rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations of females 12 and older declined 58%.

· In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households, and who lived in rural areas experienced some of the highest rates of sexual violence.

· In 2005-10, 78% of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance.

· In 2005-10, the offender was armed with a gun, knife, or other weapon in 11% of rape or sexual assault victimizations.

· The percentage of rape or sexual assault victimizations reported to police increased to a high of 56% in 2003 before declining to 35% in 2010, a level last seen in 1995.

· The percentage of females who were injured during a rape or sexual assault and received some type of treatment for their injuries increased from 26% in 1994-98 to 35% in 2005-10.

· In 2005-10, about 80% of female rape or sexual assault victims treated for injuries received care in a hospital, doctor’s office, or emergency room, compared to 65% in 1994-98.

· In 2005-10, about 1 in 4 (23%) rape or sexual assault victims received help or advice from a victim service agency.

Planty, Michael, Lynn Langton, Christopher Krebs, Marcus Berzofsky, and Hope Smiley-McDonald. 2013. Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010. Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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