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Sexual Assault in the States

Introduction  -  Legislation  -  Data Sources  -  Projects  -  Reports


Although most states differ in the kinds of agencies that are collecting data and the type of information being collected, there are similarities across states. This section presents a general overview of how states are collecting sexual assault data and how agencies are using the information.

As with domestic violence, the prevalence of sexual assault is difficult to measure. Not all offenses are reported to law enforcement, and not all victims seek services. Although most sexual assault service providers keep records on the number of people seeking services, these data are not collected consistently across agencies and states. Often, individual information is not collected, which makes separating duplicates difficult. For example, a person may visit a shelter on multiple occasions and may seek a variety of services. This individual may be counted for each stay and for each service. Service providers in some states do collect individual statistics, but may not indicate whether the incident was reported to police. In these cases, it would be difficult to try to use service provider data to supplement law enforcement numbers due to the problem of duplicating existing incidents.

In theory, person-level data collected by service providers could be used in conjunction with law enforcement data to give estimates of sexual assault incidents. No identifying information would be necessary; demographic information (gender, age and race) and incident dates for all individuals seeking services in an entire jurisdiction could be used. Service providers, however, do not release such information for privacy reasons, even though it is impossible to identify an individual through such data. Until data become available for research, we will continue to be unable to truly provide an accurate picture of the extent of sexual violence in our states.

Sexual Assault Legislation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) breaks sexual assault into two main categories - forcible sex offenses and nonforcible sex offenses. Forcible sex offenses are defined as "any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent" (FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System Volume 1: Data Collection Guidelines, 2000). Forcible sex offenses include the following offenses:

  • Forcible rape - "the carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity." (ibid)
  • Forcible sodomy - "oral or anal intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical capacity." (ibid)
  • Sexual assault with an object - "to use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity." (ibid)
  • Forcible fondling - "the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim in incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity." (ibid)
Nonforcible sex offenses include two offenses:
  • Incest - "nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law." (ibid)
  • Statutory rape - "nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent." (ibid)
Generally, research on sexual assault focuses on forcible sex offenses, most often rape.

All states have legislation that defines sexual assault, which may differ from the federal definition. Once states report the information to the FBI, however, the data must be consistent with the federal definitions. As a result, state and federal statistics may differ slightly, but national reports are based on comparable definitions.

Sources of Sexual Assault Data

There are five basic sources of data available in the states: law enforcement, victimization surveys, service providers, victim compensation offices, and health/medical agencies. Since law enforcement agencies follow strict legal definitions and are usually required to report data to the state Uniform Crime Reporting programs, most of the statistics available on sexual assault are law enforcement data. Since these data represent only incidents that are known to the police, it is widely viewed that many offenses are underrepresented in these data. This is especially true for acts of violence against women, whose victims may not report to the police for fear of reprisal, embarrassment, or because of financial dependence on the offender. Using only one source of data, therefore, provides an incomplete picture of the amount of violence being experienced.

Law Enforcement Data

Law enforcement data are reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and are reported annually in the online Crime in the United States publications. There are two national reporting systems currently in place - a summary-based and an incident-based - both of which are voluntary. The Uniform Crime Reporting summary system is made up of counts of offenses; each agency submits a tally for each offense type. The exception to this rule occurs for homicide incidents; each agency must submit a Supplemental Homicide Report for each homicide that provides information on the offense, victim and offender.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System provides a more in-depth look at offenses since offense, victim, offender, property, and arrestee information is provided for each incident. Offenses of interest can be selected from the main database, and each can be analyzed to examine a variety of factors. Incident-based data sets provide more insight into the characteristics of offenses and the people involved. Most importantly, in the incident-based systems, the information from a single incident can be identified and matched across data files; the summary data, on the other hand, only gives counts for each data category and cannot be compared across categories.

As of August 2008, 31 states are certified to report incident-based data to the FBI, although only 13 of these have 100% of their law enforcement agencies reporting. In most states, there is a mix of reporting, with most agencies continuing to report summary data with a slow move towards incident-based reporting, mostly in medium-sized agencies. Fifteen states are either testing or developing incident-based systems, while 5 states report no plans for incident-based reporting. All state Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) programs provide law enforcement data to the public through reports, the release of data, information requests, or Web sites that allow users to manipulate the data directly to create customized tables.

States may also require law enforcement agencies to collect and report information in addition to what is required by the FBI. Several states have specialized data collection systems specifically for sexual violence. Such systems may be either summary- or incident-based. A list of states with specialized data collection systems, and the status of NIBRS in each state, is presented below.

As you can see in the table below, the information collected in Rhode Island is similar to the information collected by the FBI. In the District of Columbia, no victim identifiers are collected, only information on the offender and offense.

Victimization Surveys

Random surveys of the public can also provide information, particularly on incidents that are not reported to the police. These surveys generally collect information that is not collected by law enforcement agencies. Research has suggested that the anonymity of speaking to a researcher on the phone rather than in person may allow victims to discuss criminal incidents that they are unwilling to report to the police, or may allow for the recording of crimes victims may have deemed too insignificant to report. In this way, incident-based survey data can be gathered to provide an alternative source of data to estimate crime rates.

The downside of victimization surveys is that participation is limited to those with telephones who are home when the surveyor calls and who voluntarily opt to participate in the program. Populations that may be most at risk, such as low-income or transient families, may not be included in these kinds of data collection efforts.

The National Crime Victimization Survey is funded by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and is conducted by the Census Bureau twice a year. Several states have instituted statewide surveys as well. Few states, however, conduct victimization surveys on a regular basis. Like the law enforcement data, victimization survey data are usually made available to the public in the form of reports.

Service Provider Data

Agencies that provide services to victims often keep statistics; at the very least, the number of people receiving services is often required to fulfill grant obligations. All states have coalitions that exist at the state level; most have separate coalitions for domestic violence and sexual assault. The role that each takes differs from state to state. Some coalitions function as data collection agencies with sophisticated reporting systems and standardized report forms. Others collect no information and act as lobbyists or provide technical assistance to local programs.

Service providers are often required to report statistics as stipulated by granting agencies at the state or federal level. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants have allowed for states to pass federal money to local agencies to provide services to victims of domestic or sexual abuse. Often agencies are required to report summary statistics, and, less frequently, incident-based statistics, to the granting agencies. Service providers and coalitions may provide some statistics on their Web sites, and some produce annual reports providing summary data. Generally the data provided to funding agencies are rarely published or made available to the public.

Service providers often collect a wide variety of information on clients. Some also collect information on whether the incident was reported to police, allowing for the potential to use both law enforcement and service provider data without the issue of duplicate events. The table below summarizes the data currently being collected.

Data Collected by State Service Providers
SA Table3

Victim Compensation

All states provide some kind of compensation to victims based on certain criteria. To ascertain who is eligible to receive payment, victims complete forms that collect various information about the offense, victim, and offender. Most states collect information on the relationship of the victim to the offender and some forms ask victims to indicate whether the offense was domestic in nature. While some agencies collecting this information publish annual reports on the amount of compensation paid for different offense types, this information is not usually provided to the public.

Health/Medical Agencies

All of the states participate in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. While the focus of the survey is on health, the CDC introduced optional modules for use in the 2005 survey, including questions on intimate partner violence and sexual assault. In the first year, 10 states and 2 territories included the intimate partner module and 18 states and 2 territories included the sexual violence module in the survey.

Year   Sexual Violence Module
2005   AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, ID,MS, MO, NV, OH, OK, PR, RI, SC, TN, VT, VI, VA, WI

The CDC releases the data from the survey, including the optional module data. The survey does not, however, ask if the incident was reported to the police. States may also publish reports summarizing the findings from the survey, and some data are available from the state agency Web sites.

Sexual Assault Projects

Some federal agencies and several states have ongoing projects related to sexual assault. Some are research driven, while others are service-related. Below is a list of known projects with links to project pages, where available. If you are involved in or know of a sexual assault project in your state that is not listed, please contact us.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) are together on a series of projects designed to improve state criminal history records through analysis of key topics of interest to state justice decisionmakers. In the first project, nine State Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) were selected to study recidivism of sex offenders released in 2001 using criminal history records data. The SACs were required to develop the capacity to obtain and analyze their statesí criminal history records, or in the case of SACs that already had this capacity, to participate in a study of sex offender recidivism using the criminal history records data. SACS then provided feedback to their state criminal history repositories on errors in the data discovered as the analyses were undertaken. This ongoing process of analysis and correction of data in the files is aimed to help improve the overall quality of the data in the criminal history records.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the National Institute of Justice and the U.S. Department of Defense, is developing the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Surveillance System (NISVSS). This survey will sample households to establish incidence and prevalence estimates on intimate and sexual violence and stalking.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Projects

NIJ, through its Violence and Victimization Research Division, provides funding for various research projects related to violence against women. Ongoing projects can be found on the NIJ Grants page.

Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Projects

  • Transitional Housing for Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking and Sexual Assault
    The OVW provides grants to programs that provide assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are in need of transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services.

  • Project Access
    Funded under the Office of Violence Against Women, Education and Technical Assistance Grants to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities Program, this project provides technical assistance to 22 grantees representing 19 different states. The goals of the program are to create greater options, services and remedies for women with disabilities experiencing sexual assault, stalking and/or domestic violence. The project challenges barriers that exist within the service provider community and public institutions that limit women with disabilities who have experienced violence from accessing services, and create a national coordinated response among service providers

  • STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program
    The STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants are awarded to states to develop and strengthen the criminal justice system's response to violence against women and to support and enhance services for victims.

  • Legal Assistance for Victims
    This discretionary grant program is designed to strengthen civil and criminal legal assistance programs for adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking who are seeking relief in legal matters arising as a consequence of that abuse or violence.

  • Campus Program
    This program is designed to strengthen the higher education community's response to sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence crimes on campuses, and to enhance collaboration between campuses and local criminal justice and victim advocacy organizations.

  • State Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions
    The Office awards grants to each state domestic violence coalition and sexual assault coalition for the purposes of coordinating state victim services activities and collaborating and coordinating with federal, state, and local entities engaged in violence against women activities.

  • Tribal Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions
    This discretionary grant program is designed for increasing awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault against American Indian and Alaska Native women, enhancing the response to such violence at the tribal, federal, and state levels, and providing technical assistance to coalition membership and tribal communities.

  • Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence and Abuse of Women Later in Life
    This discretionary grant program is designed to address the issue of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against victims who are 50 years of age or older, through training and services.

  • Education and Technical Assistance Grants to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities
    This discretionary grant program is designed to provide training, consultation, and information on domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault against individuals with disabilities and to provide direct services to such individuals.

  • Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange
    This discretionary grant program helps create safe places for visitation with and exchange of children in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

  • State Projects

    Alabama  Alaska  Arizona  Arkansas  California  Colorado  Connecticut  Delaware  District of Columbia  Florida  Georgia  Hawaii  Idaho  Illinois  Indiana  Iowa  Kansas  Kentucky  Louisiana  Maine  Maryland  Massachusetts  Michigan  Minnesota  Mississippi  Missouri  Montana  Nebraska  Nevada  New Hampshire  New Jersey  New Mexico  New York  North Carolina  North Dakota  Ohio  Oklahoma  Oregon  Pennsylvania  Rhode Island  South Carolina  South Dakota  Tennessee  Texas  Utah  Vermont  Virginia  Washington  West Virginia  Wisconsin  Wyoming 


  • Studying the Characteristics, Processes, and Outcomes of Sexual Assaults in Alaska. Grant 2004-WG-BX-0003
    This project will investigate the epidemiology of sexual assaults in Alaska and the ways in which alcohol use affects the reported assaults. In a four-pronged approach, researchers will collect and analyze Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners' (SANE) evaluations of victims statewide; examine the spatial patterns of reported assaults in Anchorage; describe and identify the causes and consequences of the time lapse between the end of the assault and the report to the police or examination by a SANE; and examine how alcohol use affects anogenital injuries.

  • Campus Crime
    The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center has compiled statistics on the number of murders, sex offenses, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, arson, theft/larceny incidents, and Minor Consuming Alcohol (MCA) citations reported on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus since 1991.

  • Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Data Collection Project
    The Alaska Forensic Nurses Association, working in conjunction with the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, has created a database to capture incident-based information from all of the 11 Sexual Assault Response Team programs in Alaska.

  • Analysis of Sexual Assault
    The Alaska State Troopers, working in conjunction with the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center, has created a database to capture incident-based information from all of the sexual assault cases reported to the State Troopers in 2003 and 2004. This information will be paired with information on the outcomes of these cases from the Department of Law. The final report will provide a detailed description of sexual assault in Alaska and an examination of how case characteristics affect case outcomes.

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  • Analysis of Sexual Assault of Spouses Criminal History Records

  • The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission's Statistical Analysis Center will be analyzing the criminal history records of offenders who sexually abuse their spouses.

  • STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant

  • The STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women to the Arizona Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families' Division for Women. The state of Arizona receives approximately $2m dollars annually that are awarded through a competitive process to law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and victim service programs across the state that address violence against women. Some of the activities supported through the STOP Grant have been: development of a statewide Court Protective Order Repository; establishment of domestic violence courts; development of specialized law enforcement and prosecution teams; sexual assault crisis services; battered immigrant self-petitioning assistance; legal advocacy; the establishment of Family Advocacy Centers; and the hiring of a domestic violence court trainer, advocates, specialized sexual assault detectives, and master-level sexual assault therapists.

  • Accessing Safety: Promising Practices in Serving Crime Victims with Disabilities

  • The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault received funding from the Office of Victims of Crime for a 3-year project. In the first year, the project conducted a needs assessment and formed the Southern Arizona Sexual Violence Disability Coalition. Now in its second year, Accessing Safety is implementing strategies and projects to serve crime victims with disabilities. Among other efforts is the creating of a Promising Practices Handbook for Center Against Sexual Assault staff, forensic nurse examiners and law enforcement partners.

  • Sexual Assault Response Services (SARS)

  • The Sexual Assault Response Service is a 24-hour/7 day-a-week hospital response team providing services to recent survivors of sexual assault. A SARS advocate can respond to any Tucson hospital emergency department to provide victims/survivors with immediate crisis intervention and advocacy, as well as information about the victim's/survivor's options and rights. When authorized by law enforcement, a specially-skilled Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner is able to provide a forensic medical exam and evidence collection. SARS also facilitates a victim's/survivor's entry into longer-term support, as well as into Arizona's criminal justice system.

  • Su Voz Vale

  • Su Voz Vale, or Your Voice Counts, is a community action program of the Center Against Sexual Assault based on the south side of Tucson. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of and trauma associated with sexual violence for the Latino/Chicano population. Su Voz Vale is a bilingual/bicultural program providing culturally relevant and appropriate services.

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  • Sexual Assault Investigation and Management Training for Rural Law Enforcement

  • The National Center for Rural Law Enforcement at the Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas, in a collaborative effort with the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, provides education and training on sexual assault to rural law enforcement executives and rural investigators. This project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Office on Violence Against Women.

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  • pdf document Farmworker Women's Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program
    The purpose of this program is to develop and implement activities that educate and increase awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence among monolingual and bilingual Spanish-speaking and low-income farmworker women.

  • Law Enforcement Specialized Units
    The purpose of this program is to continue the efforts of law enforcement agencies to enhance or create specialized units to focus special effort on the handling of violent crimes against adult women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. The specialized units accomplish this purpose through thorough investigation, immediate victim advocacy, and training for law enforcement officers. Thorough investigation leads to successful prosecution of cases, immediate victim advocacy provides victims with the support and resources to help disrupt the cycle of violence, and training assists departments in providing a consistent, effective, and compassionate response to female victims of violent crime.

  • pdf document Medical Training Center Program
    The purpose of this program is to ensure that forensic medical examinations are conducted statewide in a standardized, consistent and qualified manner by training medical personnel who perform examinations for child sexual and physical abuse and neglect, adult sexual assault, domestic violence and elder/dependent adult abuse. Training on evidentiary examination procedures is also provided to investigators and court personnel involved in dependency and criminal proceedings. This is accomplished through the development of a wide variety of curriculum guidelines and provision of training courses.

  • Native American Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program
    Native American sexual assault and domestic violence victims are severely underserved due to the lack of conveniently located or culturally sensitive services, lack of information regarding the dynamics of sexual assault and domestic violence and, in some cases weak linkages between tribal communities and non-tribal criminal justice and victim services systems. This project addresses sexual assault and domestic violence among this population.

  • pdf document Rape Crisis Program
    The program funds 84 rape crisis centers that service all 58 counties. Rape crisis centers assist sexual assault victims in dealing with the emotional trauma inflicted by the assault, provide assistance as these victims progress through the criminal justice system, and provide community education programs.

  • Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Program
    This program provides funding for Rape Crisis Center victim advocates to support and participate in the development and/or enhancement of local SART efforts to improve multidisciplinary responses to sexual assault victims.

  • Statewide SART Collaboration Program
    This project provides assistance to develop and coordinate Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) in California to ensure effective community sexual assault response systems. The objectives are: 1) development, enhancement and improvement of SART systems and efforts; 2) availability of effective, comprehensive sexual assault response systems for sexual assault victims; 3) identification of key procedures and protocols; and 4) coordination of SART policy needs.

  • Violence Against Women Vertical Prosecution Program
    The purpose of this program is to fund specialized units in prosecutorís offices in California to vertically prosecute crimes against women, including sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence. Vertical prosecution has shown to improve conviction rates, reduce victim trauma, and provide more consistent and appropriate sentencing.

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  • Anger Profiles and Characteristics of Incarcerated Sex Offenders

  • The Central Connecticut State University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice has received a grant to examine the characteristics of sex offenders currently in prison.

  • Connecticut College Consortium Against Sexual Assault

  • The Consortium is composed of representatives from Connecticut colleges and universities, as well as individuals from community services and programs, who work to improve the response to and prevention of sexual violence.
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  • Na Wahine Team International
    The Na Wahine team is fighting domestic violence and sexual assault to form a comprehensive response to issues of violence against women through cross-disciplinary training programs.

  • Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women
    Hawaii State Commission on Status of Women (HSCSW) works for equality for women and girls in the state by acting as a catalyst for positive change through advocacy, education, collaboration and program development.

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  • Region Women Initiative
    This Northwest Indiana project has two focus areas - research and culture. The first phase, running through 2006, consists of a public policy report, a three-part cultural series and the launch of the first regionally based academic journal. The initiative is driven by community volunteers working together to stimulate public dialogue at the regional level on issues affecting region women's quality of life.

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  • Iowa Sex Offender Treatment and Supervision Studies
    The Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning established a task force to study sex offender-related issues. The task force released its first report, making recommendations and study plans for a variety of issues, including: electronic monitoring, updating addresses in the sex offender registry, risk assessments, treatment, and the impact of the special sentence (new 10-year or life-time supervision).

  • National Resource Sharing Project
    Created by the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the project helps state sexual assault coalitions across the country access resources. The project is designed to provide technical assistance and support, and to facilitate peer-driven resources for all state and territorial sexual assault coalitions.

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  • Violence Against Women Study
    The Statistical Analysis Center within the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council is undertaking a project to:
    • identify all available statewide data pertaining to the incidence of domestic and sexual violence, including data from criminal justice sources, as well as social services, mental health and victim service providers;
    • establish a plan and ongoing process for data collection to permit the ability to monitor the data over time and conduct trend analysis;
    • coordinate data collection efforts through the Data Advisory Team of the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council; and
    • analyze the data and publish the findings in a statewide report on violence against women.

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  • Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women
    With a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Department of Human Services, Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse, and the Maine Primary Care Association are teaming up to integrate and implement a strategic plan to reduce violence against women in the state.

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  • Sexual Assault in Maryland: The African-American Experience.
    In this project, researchers conducted a needs assessment of African-American women who are residents of Maryland and who have been sexually assaulted. Analyses of the results examined whether differences exist by race in terms of details of assault, reporting to police, and medical and counseling services received, and also to determine if these differences are due to race alone or to other variables such as geographic location, age, and socioeconomic status.

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  • Provider Sexual Crime Report
    The Provider Sexual Crime Report (PSCR) is a data collection instrument that was created to help understand the volume and characteristics of rape and sexual assault in Massachusetts. Medical providers in Massachusetts are required by law to fill out a PSCR for every sexual assault and rape where the victim sought medical treatment. The PSCR provides detailed data on sexual crimes that commonly go unreported to police and as a result are not recorded or tracked in official statistics. The Research and Policy Analysis Unit of the Executive Office of Public Safety analyzes PSCR data to construct a detailed picture of sexual assaults and rapes in Massachusetts where the victim sought medical treatment.

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  • Sexual Assault Surveillance System (SASS)
    Funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health, the SASS is an ongoing systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of sexual assault data for use in planning, implementation, and evaluation of sexual assault polices in Michigan.

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  • Crime Victimization Survey

  • The Minnesota Statistical Analysis Center is working with the University of Minnesota's Center for Survey Research to ask a statewide sample of 800 Minnesotans about their crime victimization and perceptions of crime in their communities. This information will be analyzed by a variety of demographics, including geographic location, gender, and age.

  • Interagency Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention

  • The Minnesota Legislature created the Interagency Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention (IATF) during the 2000 legislative session and charged the task force with developing a statewide strategic plan to address and formulate:
    • Recommendations on how to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault
    • Recommendations on how to coordinate existing resources at the federal, state and local levels to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault, including specific proposals on how these governmental entities may better cooperate
    • Recommendations for changes in policies and laws to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault
    • Recommendations on the need for increased services and resources to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and sexual assault
    • Other items deemed appropriate by the task force.
    Each year, the Task Force presents these recommendations in a report to the legislature.

  • A Comprehensive Needs Assessment of Rural Violence

  • With the support of the Bush Foundation in St. Paul, MN, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - Office of Justice Programs, the Center for Reducing Rural Violence (CRRV) has engaged the services of Rainbow Research to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of rural violence in Minnesota in two phases:
    • Examine proven violence indicators in rural Minnesota as well as trends in violence covering the period 1995 to 2005 across urban, suburban, and rural areas, including rural tribal communities
    • Convene local and regional stakeholders across the state to discuss the impacts of violence in rural communities, current violence prevention and intervention practices, and barriers and public policy needs in addressing, resisting, and preventing violence.
    The needs assessment will also provide a unique set of data never before collected in Minnesota, including information about challenges of violence facing rural communities, the barriers and successes they have met in dealing with these, met and unmet needs, and gaps in service. Information will be collected in key informant interviews and focus groups with local law enforcement and criminal justice experts, public officials and community residents.

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  • Crisis Resource Center

  • The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and Voices of Hope have received a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to create and maintain a Crisis Resource Center for mental health, sexual assault, and domestic violence service providers.

  • Montana DELTA Project

  • The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA) project. The project focuses on three key areas: prevention, collaboration and employing a multi-level approach to community involvement. DELTA is currently underway in Carbon, Hill and Ravalli Counties and Missoula.

  • Seven Sisters Native Coalition

  • The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to create a Native American Coalition in Montana. Currently in the development state, this new Coalition will focus on meeting the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims on the 7 Indian reservations in the state.
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  • Improving Communities' Response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
    The project, a collaboration between the Attorney General's Office, State Patrol, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, uses law enforcement statistics and victim impact panels to develop regional training for local agencies. The project also determines the compliance of local agencies with state domestic violence statutory requirements and provides assistance to domestic violence and sexual assault response teams.

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    New Jersey

  • Evaluation of SANE/SART Program
    The Office of the Attorney General's Department of Law and Public Safety is conducting an evaluation of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE/SART) program operating statewide. The Office is gathering charging and sentencing data for the final analysis. A final evaluation report will be available.

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    New Mexico

  • South Valley Male Involvement Project
    The New Mexico Department of Health's Family Planning Program is implementing a male reproductive health project, the South Valley Male Involvement Project (SVMIP), in the South Valley area of Bernalillo County. The SVMIP provides information, education, and an opportunity for community members to access coordinated preventive health care services to improve the health and well-being of men and boys. The goals of the project are to:
    • Improve educational and clinical services for men of all ages in the South Valley
    • Reduce the risk behaviors that lead to unintended pregnancy and HIV and STDs
    • Decrease the prevalence of violence, pregnancy and STDs among teens 15-19 in the South Valley
    The SVMIP provides education at middle schools, high schools, and detention centers. Outreach activities include basketball tournaments, a locally produced play, and radio and television spots.

  • Colleague Network
    The New Mexico Clearinghouse on Sexual Abuse and Assault Services has developed a database of professionals throughout New Mexico who are involved in the investigation, prosecution, treatment, judicial administration, and prevention of sexual abuse and sexual assault. The Colleague Network includes experienced advocates, clergy, lawyers, judges, medical professionals, law enforcement, forensic scientists, teachers, counselors, principals, and trainers who can address the specific needs of anyone involved in a sexual abuse or sexual assault case.

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    New York

  • New York State Victim Assistance Academy
    The New York State Victim Assistance Academy is an interdisciplinary, academically based learning experience for crime victim service providers, advocates, and allied professionals. It provides a foundation in the principles and policies of victims' rights work and a comprehensive set of skills, knowledge, and resources to enable service providers to better meet the short- and long-term needs of crime victims in New York State.

  • Spas for Survivors
    The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault is partnering with The Enterprising Kitchen to allow the public to donate spa baskets to survivors of sexual assault.

  • Review of Services to Adolescents
    The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault analyzed the type and range of services offered by city hospital, community, child and adolescent, and criminal justice programs. Emergency departments in 39 of the 63 hospitals participated.

  • Survivor Study
    The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault will identify the adequacy of services available to sexual assault victims from the survivors' perspective. Staff are using a standard survey administered through three channels: rape crisis programs, hospital-based sexual assault programs, and online from the Alliance's Web site. Researchers will ask survivors to reflect on the medical, mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice services made available to them after their assault. The overarching purpose is to: 1) inform each of the service sectors involved in the care of rape survivors on how their current services either fulfill or do not fulfill needs of rape victims; and 2) provide these service sectors with guidelines on how to better the care they provide to rape survivors in New York City.

  • Dating Violence Experiences of High School Students
    The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault has begun a research project in conjunction with the Columbia Center for Youth Violence Prevention to survey youths in four high schools on dating violence.

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    North Carolina

  • Automation Capabilities of Service Providers
    The Governor's Crime Commission Criminal Justice Analysis Center is assessing the automation capabilities and needs of the state-funded domestic violence and sexual assault provider programs. The study will collect baseline data to determine the readiness for development of an automated statewide data collection program.

  • Statewide Information System for Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs
    The Governor's Crime Commission will be developing a statewide data collection system that captures information about the types of services provided by domestic violence and sexual assault agencies as well as methods for measuring the data to determine the impact or effectiveness of services on victims.

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    North Dakota

  • Domestic Violence/Rape Crisis Grant Program
    North Dakota Department of Health provides grants to domestic violence and rape crisis service providers, law enforcement, prosecution, judicial, hospitals, and other agencies to address violent crimes against women.
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  • Evaluation of Victim Services Organizational Capacity Building Initiative

  • The National Center for State Courts is conducting an 18-month evaluation of the impact of organizational capacity building initiatives undertaken by five victim services agencies funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

  • Assessing the Use of Pennsylvania's Victim Compensation Assistance Program

  • The Justice Research and Statistics Association is conducting this study to identify ways to increase the utilization of crime victim compensation in Pennsylvania. The objectives of the study are to: 1) assess Pennsylvania's current rate of utilization of crime victim compensation and compare this to the rates of other states; 2) identify, via literature review and data analysis, factors that are related to utilization of compensation programs; and 3) develop recommendations for improving the program.

  • Evaluation of the STOP Violence Against Women Training Project

  • The University of Pittsburgh will assess the impact of the training project on the implementation of the STOP grant in participating counties. This will include an impact evaluation of the outcomes associated with the training, an identification of best practices in the existing statewide program, and development of a set of performance measures to aid in establishing guidelines for future training programs.

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    South Carolina

  • Effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policies in Reducing Sexual Violence Against Women
    The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of sex offender registration and community notification policies in reducing sexual violence against women and girls. To date, effects of broad sex offender registration and notification policies have been almost entirely exempt from empirical review. The present study will evaluate sex offender registration and notification policies as applied in South Carolina to determine whether these policies have deterred new sexual offenses or reduced sexual recidivism. Additionally, this study will examine whether an unintended effect has occurred; that is, whether the prosecution or conviction of individuals arrested for serious sexual offenses might have declined since policy implementation, perhaps due to perceived harshness of these policies. Because general crime rates have declined over the past decade, data on robbery and aggravated assault will also be examined to control for reductions in sex offenses.

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policies for Reducing Sexual Violence Against Women. Grant 2006-WT-BX-0001
    The study examines the effectiveness of sex offender registration and community notification policies in reducing sexual violence against women and girls. Because registration and notification policies were federally mandated and have been implemented across the country, they represent the most comprehensive attempts at the prevention and reduction of serious sexual violence. To date, the effects of broad registration and notification policies (e.g., policies that do not distinguish between different offender risk levels and that apply for life) have been almost entirely exempt from empirical review. The present study will evaluate broad sex offender registration and notification policies as applied in South Carolina to determine whether these policies have deterred new sexual offenses (Aim 1) or reduced sexual recidivism (Aim 2). Additionally, this study will examine whether an unintended effect has occurred: that is, whether the prosecution or conviction of individuals arrested for serious sexual offenses might have declined since policy implementation, perhaps due to perceived harshness of these polices (Aim 3). Because general crime rates have declined over the past decade, data on robbery and aggravated assault will also be examined in the context of some analyses to control for reductions in sex offenses that might be due to non-specific factors. Data from 1991 to 2003 to be analyzed include all South Carolina "registry" sexual offense charges and convictions; all robbery and aggravated assault charges and convictions (for comparison); and victim reports of sexual offenses (also for comparison purposes). Patterns of pre-policy (1991-1995) charges and convictions will be compared with post-registration policy data (1996-1999) and with post-Internet notification policy data (2000-2003). This study will represent the first empirical examination of broad registration and notification polices, such as were implemented by approximately half of all U.S. states. These policies have been in effect for over a decade, and examination of their effectiveness is overdue.

  • Juvenile Sexual Violence Victims
    The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is also using incident-based law enforcement data to conduct a study of sexual violence on victims under the age of 18. When conducting a previous report of sexual violence, it became apparent that sexual violence victimization rates among the younger age groups significantly exceeded the rates among older age groups. The Division will therefore be conducting a more detailed examination of sexual violence among young victims.

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  • Cultural Competency Project
    The Cultural Competency Project addresses access, language and cultural barriers faced by immigrant and refugee victims and works to enhance culturally competent domestic violence and sexual assault services. The project seeks ways to improve services to immigrant, refugee and trafficked victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Tennessee, to increase collaboration between DV/SA programs and organizations that serve immigrant communities, and to increase the understanding of issues that affect immigrant victims among DV/SA programs and organizations that serve immigrants.

  • Social Norms Project
    The overall purpose of the Social Norms Project is to create a prevention campaign about sexual violence among youth. In order to accomplish this goal effectively, the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence will first examine and assess what Tennessee youths believe sexual violence is and how they feel about it. Once these beliefs are understood, the project can determine the best way to help prevent sexual assault.

  • Tennessee Victim Assistance Academy
    The Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has received a three-year federal grant from the Office for Victims of Crime to develop, implement and evaluate a Tennessee-specific victim assistance academy. The Coalition will coordinate, plan and implement the Academy with support from the Victims of Crime State Coordinating Council, the Office of Criminal Justice Programs, the State Treasurer's Office and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

  • Victims of Crime State Coordinating Council
    The Tennessee Victims of Crime State Coordinating Council has been established to promote awareness of the needs of victims of crime and their families and to coordinate and assist the efforts of victims' rights organizations. The Council does not provide direct services assistance to individual victims or families of victims, but instead refers victims and/or will advise victims of available resources.

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  • Child and Adolescent Counseling Program Evaluation for SafePlace
    The Child and Adolescent Counseling Program at SafePlace provides counseling to children and adolescents who have experienced domestic and/or sexual violence. Services provided to clients include individual counseling, play therapy with younger children, crisis intervention, long-term counseling, and peer support groups. Given current services offered, the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will be conducting an evaluation of the program's assessment tools and observation methods to assess their suitability for evaluating client outcomes.

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  • Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Feedback Form
    The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault is evaluating sexual assault victims' system of care, including the sexual assault nurse examination, rape crisis advocacy, and response by law enforcement and hospital services personnel.

  • Sexual Violence Awareness Within the Community of Developmentally Disabled Adults
    The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault is measuring the effectiveness of sexual violence intervention and prevention efforts designed for developmentally disabled adults and their caregivers.

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  • Prison Rape Elimination
    The Washington State Department of Corrections was awarded a grant and has subcontracted to the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs to create curricula and provide training in the areas of inmate orientation, staff training and investigations for both adult and juvenile facilities.

  • The Black People's Project
    The Black People's Project, created by Communities Against Rape and Abuse, develops creative and radical ways to challenge rape culture as it connects to the experience of being black in America. This includes presentations, curricula, and peer education about the American slave trade and culture; lynching movements at the turn of the 20th century and in contemporary USA; sexual abuse, torture and continued assaults on the black body as "object" and subject of loathing; disproportionality; the Criminal Justice System: police brutality, the prison industrial complex, the death penalty; and economic justice.

  • The Disability Pride Project
    The Disability Pride Project, created by Communities Against Rape and Abuse, generates radical action against violence and oppression within the disabilities community. The project challenges the oppressive stereotypes that surround this community and explores ways of resistance that are educational, creative, and political. The Disability Pride Project increases the community's capacity to support survivors of sexual violence and bolsters community efforts to promote safety, support and liberation in a manner that challenges rape and oppression. This goal is achieved by fostering education through critical dialogue, strengthening coalitions between people with disabilities and our allies, and by supporting community action that increases awareness of sexual violence, safety, and informed decision-making.

  • The Young People's Liberation Project
    Communities Against Rape and Abuse's Young People's Liberation Project supports young people organizing for safety, support, and liberation. The agency works creatively and collectively to challenge rape, abuse, and oppression. This project is a resource for young people who want to create support for young survivors of rape and abuse, as well as young people who want to work to end all forms of violence and oppression through activism and community-organizing.

  • Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex
    Communities Against Rape and Abuse organizes and is led by communities that are marginalized from the approach of strengthening the criminal justice system's response to sexual violence. The project works to create community-based systems of accountability and support in order to build healthy relationships and communities free of both interpersonal and state violence.

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    West Virginia

  • West Virginia Regional Mobile SANE Program
    The West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services evaluated the needs of the rural areas of the state and discovered that victims in many rural communities were provided limited and unequal access to medical care resources and facilities, which often resulted in unequal access to proper forensic examinations. This led to the development of a mobile program, serving four hospitals in four counties and providing 24/7 services to victims of sexual assault through a collaboration of financial and programmatic resources.

  • Violence Against Women Program Evaluations
    The Division of Criminal Justice Services' Statistical Analysis Center evaluates the state Violence Against Women STOP teams and the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Grant program. All evaluations are available from its Web site.

  • West Virginia Intercollegiate Council on Sexual Violence
    The Intercollegiate Council began as a vision to establish a campus consortium to work collectively on the issue of sexual violence on the campuses of West Virginia's residential colleges and universities. The mission of the council is to significantly reduce sexual offenses through the development of educational strategies, improvement of victim service responses, facilitation of information exchange and impact on policy-making.

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  • Safe Haven Visitation and Exchange Plan Implementation Project
    This project provides assistance for families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and stalking. Four of the 34 state service providers are receiving funds to expand services, enhance safety, and increase center staff. In addition to the mandated OJP technical support, training and technical assistance to the four implementation sites are provided by subcontracts from the Children's Trust Fund (CTF) to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA), the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV), and Kieffer Consultation and Facilitation.

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  • Comprehensive Needs Assessment for the Prevention of Sexual Violence
    The Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) is working with the Wyoming Division of Victim Services and Wyoming's Sexual Violence Prevention Planning Committee to complete a comprehensive needs assessment of sexual violence in the state. This research involves creating an inventory of all existing data sources and indicators related to sexual violence as well as developing data profiles around important research questions. This includes profiling the perpetrators and victims of sexual violence, the types of sexual violence in Wyoming, and an exploration of possible risk and protective factors. This assessment will inform Wyoming's statewide plan to prevent sexual violence.

  • Rural Outreach Project
    The Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is working with local communities and the Wind River Reservation to identify and correct gaps in services and barriers to services.

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    Available Reports

    There is a lot of literature related to sexual assault, both available on the Web and in journals. Most journals allow individuals to purchase single articles online for a nominal fee. We have grouped the publications below by topic area, but a full list of reports can also be found on the Sexual Assault Publications page. Please note that these publications were classified based on the title; if you feel that a publication should also be found in a category but is not listed, or you have a publication you would like to add, please contact us.

    College Methodological Issues
    Community / Culture Minority Victims
    Decision to Report National and Federal Reports
    Divorce and Mediation Offender Intervention
    Drug and Alcohol Involvement Offender Profiles
    Economic Impacts Older Adults
    Effects on Children Other Reports
    Evaluations Police and Decision to Arrest
    Future Directions Pregnancy and Motherhood
    Homicide Protection Orders
    Incarceration, Probation and Parole Recidivism
    Interdisciplinary Research Religion
    International Studies SANE/SART
    Legal System Victim Help Seeking
    Legislation Victim Intervention and Services
    Men as Victims Victim Profiles
    Mental and Physical Health Youth