June 12, 2008 – (Washington, DC) - The number of forcible rapes reported to police fell in 2007, according to preliminary statistics from the FBI. The report says that forcible rape reports fell 4.3% last year, substantially more than 1.4% decrease in violent crime overall and double the prior year’s decrease in rape reports. Furthermore, the number of forcible rapes in metropolitan areas of over 1,000,000 was down 8.0 percent; regionally, the Northeastern and Midwestern states reported decreases of approximately 7.0 percent.
“While it is hard to draw conclusions from this report, which counts only rapes reported to police, the Justice Department’s more comprehensive National Crime Victimization Survey shows that sexual assault has decreased by two-thirds since 1993,” said Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN. “This downward trend indicates that we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against sexual violence, and we’re hopeful that the decline in reports to police reflects an actual decline in rape.” Only about four of every ten victims report their rape to police, according to the Justice Department.
Forcible rape, as defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults and attempts to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded, as are all offenses against men. Figures used in the report are submitted voluntarily by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.2 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.