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New Survey Says Little Change in Sexual Assault Numbers in 2012

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The 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), just released by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), shows that the number of sexual assaults has remained fairly steady over the last five years.

According to the 2012 NCVS, over the last five years there were an estimated 237,868 sexual assaults per year against victims age 12 and older. An average of 40% of victims reported their attack to police during that span. Overall, the number of sexual assaults has declined by about half since 1993.

NCVS is the nation’s largest and most reliable measure of crime. Because it is based on interviews with the public and not on police reports, its estimates include the approximately 60% of sexual assaults that are not reported to police. However, because it does not include interviews with young children, it covers only crimes against victims age 12 or older. (Other Justice Department research has shown that about one out of every six victims is under age 12.) The 2012 NCVS data is based on interviews with 92,390 households and 162,940 individuals age 12 or older.

“While we’ve made great progress against sexual violence over the last 20 years, it’s concerning that the gains have leveled off, and there’s been no real improvement over the last few years,” said Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. “Even after all our progress, every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted. So there is clearly a lot of work left to do.”


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