Sex Crimes Still Down 1/3 Since 1993, But Up Since 1995
According to the 1999 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) just
released by the US Department of Justice, the total number of rapes,
attempted rapes and sexual assaults increased to 383,000 last year, up 50,000
from 1998's 333,000 total attacks. The number of completed rapes increased by
about 30,000, while the number of attempted rapes declined by about the same
number. The number of sexual assaults rose by 50,000. Overall totals
increased by 13.3%.
The annual NCVS, considered the country's most accurate crime gauge, is based
on interviews with 77,750 people age 12 and older. NCVS does not count
assaults on children under age 12, but does count all other crimes, whether
or not the victim reported the attack to the police.
While NCVS is the nation's largest crime survey, there are still relatively
few rape victims in its sample. Thus, data are most reliable in showing
trends over several years. Researchers at the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
which conducts the survey, caution that they have less confidence in data for
any individual year or for demographic subgroups, because of the small sample
Despite last year's increase, sex crimes have fallen by about one-third since
1993, the year NCVS was overhauled to better account for rapes and sexual
Total rapes and sexual assaults have fallen 32% since 1993, with completed
rapes down 40%. However, most of the decrease came between 1993-1995. Since
1996, the trend has reversed--rapes and sexual assaults have actually
increased as other violent crimes keep falling. The combined total of
completed and attempted rapes and sexual assaults has gone up by 21% since
1996, while sexual assault is up by 60%.
The increase in rape in 1999 bucked the national trend, which showed total
violent crime dropping by 10% across the nation.
Some other findings from the 1999 NCVS (figures combine completed and
attempted rapes and sexual assaults):
- 69% of victims knew their assailant, versus 54% for victims of all
- A weapon was present in only 5% of rapes. In those cases, the weapon was
equally likely to be a gun or knife.
- Rape is the most underreported violent crime. 28.3% of rapes were
reported to police in 1999, down from 31.6% in 1998. Among all violent
crimes, 44% of victims reported their attack to police.
- About 89 percent of victims were female, 11 percent male. Of every 1000
women 12 and over, 3.0 were sexually assaulted or raped last year. For men,
the rate was 0.4 per 1000.
- Young women and poor women continued to be far more at risk of an attack
than any other demographic group.
For every thousand people 12 and over (male and female), 1.7 suffered a
sexual attack last year. Among teens 16-19, 6.9 per 1000 were sex crime
victims, with rates remaining high for people 24 and under. For those age 35
and older, the rate of attack plummets to less than one person per 1,000.
People living in households with an income under $25,000 are about three
times more likely to be sexually attacked than those living in households
making more than $25,000.
- Blacks were more likely to be raped than whites--2.6 per 1,000 people
versus 1.6 per 1,000, respectively.
For more complete details of NCVS you can download a copy of the complete
report. Provided by RAINN
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