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Why women don't report sexual assault to the police: the influence of psychosocial variables and traumatic injury.
J Emerg Med. 2009 May; 36(4):417-24.JE

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the variables that acutely influence reporting practices in female sexual assault victims presenting to an urban clinic or Emergency Department. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of consecutive female victims during an 18-month study period. Patient demographics, assault characteristics, and injury patterns were recorded in all eligible patients using a standardized classification system. At the completion of the forensic examination, victims were asked to complete a psychosocial questionnaire designed to determine specific reasons why women reported or did not report their sexual assault to police. During the study period, 424 women were eligible to participate in the study; 318 (75%) reported the sexual assault to police. One hundred six (25%) did not file a police report, but consented to a medical-legal examination. Women not reporting sexual assault were typically employed, had a history of recent alcohol or drug use, a known assailant, and prolonged time intervals between the assault and forensic evaluation (p < 0.001). There were no differences in the extent of non-genital injuries or anogenital injuries between the two groups. Thirty-six percent (152/424) of the eligible population agreed to complete the questionnaire. Only three of the 20 psychosocial variables examined were found to be significantly different in women not reporting sexual assault compared to reporters. The reasons for not reporting were primarily environmental factors (prior relationship with assailant) rather than internal psychological barriers (shame, anxiety, fear).

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Emergency Medicine, Spectrum Health Hospital-Butterworth Campus, Grand Rapids MERC/Michigan State University Program in Emergency Medicine, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-2560, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18462905

Citation

Jones, Jeffrey S., et al. "Why Women Don't Report Sexual Assault to the Police: the Influence of Psychosocial Variables and Traumatic Injury." The Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 36, no. 4, 2009, pp. 417-24.
Jones JS, Alexander C, Wynn BN, et al. Why women don't report sexual assault to the police: the influence of psychosocial variables and traumatic injury. J Emerg Med. 2009;36(4):417-24.
Jones, J. S., Alexander, C., Wynn, B. N., Rossman, L., & Dunnuck, C. (2009). Why women don't report sexual assault to the police: the influence of psychosocial variables and traumatic injury. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 36(4), 417-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2007.10.077
Jones JS, et al. Why Women Don't Report Sexual Assault to the Police: the Influence of Psychosocial Variables and Traumatic Injury. J Emerg Med. 2009;36(4):417-24. PubMed PMID: 18462905.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Why women don't report sexual assault to the police: the influence of psychosocial variables and traumatic injury. AU - Jones,Jeffrey S, AU - Alexander,Carmen, AU - Wynn,Barbara N, AU - Rossman,Linda, AU - Dunnuck,Chris, Y1 - 2008/05/07/ PY - 2006/11/03/received PY - 2007/09/25/revised PY - 2007/10/30/accepted PY - 2008/5/9/pubmed PY - 2009/8/29/medline PY - 2008/5/9/entrez SP - 417 EP - 24 JF - The Journal of emergency medicine JO - J Emerg Med VL - 36 IS - 4 N2 - The purpose of this study was to identify the variables that acutely influence reporting practices in female sexual assault victims presenting to an urban clinic or Emergency Department. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of consecutive female victims during an 18-month study period. Patient demographics, assault characteristics, and injury patterns were recorded in all eligible patients using a standardized classification system. At the completion of the forensic examination, victims were asked to complete a psychosocial questionnaire designed to determine specific reasons why women reported or did not report their sexual assault to police. During the study period, 424 women were eligible to participate in the study; 318 (75%) reported the sexual assault to police. One hundred six (25%) did not file a police report, but consented to a medical-legal examination. Women not reporting sexual assault were typically employed, had a history of recent alcohol or drug use, a known assailant, and prolonged time intervals between the assault and forensic evaluation (p < 0.001). There were no differences in the extent of non-genital injuries or anogenital injuries between the two groups. Thirty-six percent (152/424) of the eligible population agreed to complete the questionnaire. Only three of the 20 psychosocial variables examined were found to be significantly different in women not reporting sexual assault compared to reporters. The reasons for not reporting were primarily environmental factors (prior relationship with assailant) rather than internal psychological barriers (shame, anxiety, fear). SN - 0736-4679 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18462905/Why_women_don't_report_sexual_assault_to_the_police:_the_influence_of_psychosocial_variables_and_traumatic_injury_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0736-4679(08)00035-8 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -