Reporting rape by victims and third parties: evidence from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1992-2012)

Pugh, Brandie
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University of Delaware
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem in our society with evidence from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) revealing that one out of six women are survivors of rape. Despite increased efforts in rape reform legislation to increase reporting, rape remains the most underreported crime in America. However, reporting sexual assault may be the only way for the criminal justice system to address it. Thus the factors that influence reporting behavior are important to identify in order to adequately inform policy directed at improving reporting rates. The current research utilized the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data from 1992-2012, focusing solely on adult women (18 years or older) that experienced a completed or attempted rape. Most previous research has not distinguished between third party and victim reporting of sexual assault. This study seeks to address this gap in the literature, while also determining the factors that appear to be most important in reporting decisions. Logistic and multinomial logistic regressions will be utilized to determine which factors were prominent in predicting reporting in general, as well as third party reporting and victim reporting. Policy implications and directions for future research will be discussed.