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Department of Justice Reports Increase of Rape, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence in US

According to a new Department of Justice (DOJ) report, the rates of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence in the United States have soared over the past two years. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a biannual report from the DOJís Office of Justice Programs, estimated at least 248,300 rapes and sexual assaults occurred in 2007, a 25 percent increase from 2005 levels. Estimates of domestic violence incidents rose by 42 percent between 2005 and 2007.

Incidence of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence increased the most of all violent crimes since 2005, while reported rates of most violent crimes, including robbery and aggravated assault, decreased.

The Office of Justice Programs used revised methods to collect data for the 2007 report, which may account for some of the differences from the 2005 analysis. In a Human Rights Watch statement, researcher Sarah Tofte said, "The new numbers indicate that previously, the government significantly underestimated the number of individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in this country. Authorities should urgently adjust public policies, law enforcement, and provision of support services accordingly."

Media Resources: US Department of Justice 12/17/08; Human Rights Watch 12/18/08; National Crime Victimization Survey 2007



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