I received the following press release from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Click the details link to read it. In summary, the release says the 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which indicated that rape continues to decline, also showed that victims are significantly more likely to report their attack to the police than they were just a few years ago.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamie Zuieback,RAINN, 202.544.3059 or 202.215.9727
New Justice Dept Data, Nat'l Hotline Stats Highlight Key Trend: Sexual Assault Victims Less Likely To Be Silent
Washington, DC (August 27, 2003) -- The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reacted to new data released by the Department of Justice this week with optimism. The 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which indicated that rape continues to decline, also showed that victims are significantly more likely to report their attack to the police than they were just a few years ago. The study echoes RAINN's own data from the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE. Calls to the hotline, which RAINN operates, are up by 27% this year to more than 10,000 per month.
Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN, said there were three primary reasons for the increase in reporting: tough-on-crime policies, generational considerations, and media attention.
He explained, "Tough on crime policies -- longer sentences, three-strikes laws and mandatory minimums -- mean fewer criminals are on the streets. Rapists commit many kinds of crimes, and all kinds of criminals commit rape, so locking up criminals has prevented sexual assaults," said Berkowitz. He added: "The generation of young people who are most at-risk of sexual assault, those under 30, grew up knowing that 'No Means No,' and are both more careful about entering into potentially dangerous situations and more willing to forcefully express their own desires. They are also more willing to reach out for help if they are victimized because they understand that the crime is not their fault." He also noted that the past two years have brought ample media attention to a number of high profile sexual assault cases, including the clergy scandal, a number of child abductions and the Luster trial and capture.
Key data from the 2002 NCVS study include:
-- The percentage of all rapes and sexual assaults that were reported to police rose to 53.7% last year, continuing a trend that began in 2001. In 2001, 38.6 % of sexual assault victims reported the attack to police, up from an average of 30.5% from 1993-1999. (Data for 2000 is not reliable due to a small sample size.)
-- Non-strangers committed 69% of rapes and sexual assaults. (57% friend/acquaintance, 10% intimate, 2% other relative.)
-- About 12.8% of victims were male, higher than in previous years in which about 10% of victims were male.
-- Rape, attempted rape and sexual assault are down by more than 50% since 1993, with rape alone down by 60%. (In 1993, there were approximately 485,000 rapes, attempted rapes and sexual assaults of Americans over age 11, compared with 247,730 in 2002.)
The NCVS 2002 report can be downloaded at http://www.rainn.org/ncvs_2002.pdf
RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE, a partnership of 1,100 rape crisis centers in the U.S. It has helped more than 600,000 people since it began. Additional information is at http://www.rainn.org