College students experience lower rates of sexual assault-80% know their attacker

CrimeinAmerica#2

Among college-age females (ages 18 to 24), the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for nonstudents than students for the period 1995–2013, per the  Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Nonstudents (65,700) accounted for more than double the average annual number of rape and sexual assault victimizations compared to students (31,300). For 2013, no differences in the rates of rape and sexual assault were found between the two groups.

Rape and sexual assault victimizations were more likely to go unreported to police among victims who were college students (80 percent) than nonstudents (67 percent). About a quarter of student (26 percent) and nonstudent (23 percent) victims who did not report to police believed the incident was a personal matter, and 1 in 5 (20 percent each) stated a fear of reprisal.

Student victims (12 percent) were more likely than nonstudent victims (5 percent) to state that the incident was not important enough to report.

While college students experienced lower rates of rape and sexual assault than nonstudents in 1995–2013, their average annual rate was still consistently higher than females in other age brackets (ages 12 to 17 and 25 or older).

A third (33 percent) of rape and sexual assault victimizations against female college students involved completed rape, compared to 40 percent of victimizations against nonstudents.

The majority of student (56 percent) and nonstudent (52 percent) victims experienced attempted rape or other sexual assault.

This report uses data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to describe the nature of rape and sexual assault against college-age females ages 18 to 24. The NCVS is the only national source of data that compares rape and sexual assault victimization among college students (those enrolled in a college, university, trade school or vocational school) and nonstudents.

Other findings for the period 1995–2013 include—

  • Among college students and nonstudents, the offender was known to the victim in about 80 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations.
  • Nonstudents (34 percent) were more likely than students (24 percent) to experience rape or sexual assault committed by an intimate partner. Among female student victims, half of victimizations were committed by friends or acquaintances.
  • For both students and nonstudents, about 70 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations occurred either at the victim’s home or the home of another known person.
  • No statistically significant difference was detected in the percentage of student (47 percent) and nonstudent (40 percent) victims who perceived that the offender was drinking or using drugs.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 female student (16 percent) and nonstudent (18 percent) victims of rape and sexual assault received assistance from a victim services agency.
  • Among females living in rural areas, the rate of rape and sexual assault was almost 2 times higher for nonstudents (8.8 per 1,000) than students (4.6 per 1,000).

The report, Rape and Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013  can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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