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Sexual Assault in Abusive Relationships

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 256 Dated: 2007 Pages: 12-14
Date Published
January 2007
3 pages
Publication Series
This study, funded by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), examined the prevalence of sexual assault in a physically abusive intimate relationship and its impact on victims and their children.
The study found that 68 percent of the physically abused women also reported having been sexually assaulted by the perpetrator. Approximately 80 percent of these sexually assaulted women reported more than one incident of forced sex. Women who contacted the police after the first rape were 59 percent less likely to be raped by the partner again compared with women who did not report the first rape to the police. Women who applied for a protective order after the first rape were 70 percent less likely to be raped again, whether or not the order was actually obtained. Women who had been sexually assaulted had worse mental and physical health than women who had been physically but not sexually abused. The sexually assaulted women were also more likely to threaten or attempt suicide than women who were physically but not sexually abused. By the age of 3, 64 percent of the children in the homes had witnessed the abuse, and 30 percent of them had received counseling. Older children (12 to 18 years old) of sexually abused mothers showed more depression and behavioral problems than children of mothers who had not been sexually assaulted. Steps are outlined for how to prevent such sexual assaults and how to respond to the victims and their children when such assaults occur. Data were obtained from 148 women who sought assistance from the judicial system after being physically assaulted by an intimate partner. The women were first interviewed in 2001 and were reinterviewed in 2003. They were questioned about the partner sexual assaults and its impact on them and their children. 4 notes

Date Published: January 1, 2007