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A Nationally Representative Examination of the Prevalence, Characteristics, and Consequences of Statutory Rape in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2023
57 pages

The authors of this document report on a project that examined the prevalence, characteristics, and consequences of statutory rape victimization and perpetration in the U.S. using two recent sources of data, and establishes an empirical foundation for this common yet understudied form of violence against women.


This report describes a project that had the main goal of developing a broad, nationally representative understanding of how often statutory rape occurs in the U.S., who the victims and perpetrators are, how self-reported estimates compare to estimates from law enforcement data, and whether short- and/or long-term consequences exist and if they do, what the consequences might be. In order to accomplish that goal, the project had four specific objectives: to estimate nationally representative rates of statutory rape victimization and perpetration using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97); to assess situational differences between first sexual experiences that are statutory rape compared to those that are not; to estimate the likelihood of women’s statutory rape victimization being reported to police, using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS); and to assess the short- and long-term consequences of statutory rape victimization, based on the nature and characteristics of relationships as well as on the age differences between victims and perpetrators. The authors provide a breakdown of their research design, methods, analytical and data analysis techniques, results and findings for the four objectives, research limitations, artifacts, datasets generated, and dissemination activities.

Date Published: March 1, 2023