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June-05-01

Academy of Pediatrics Urges Doctors to Ask About Sexual Assault

With recent data showing that adolescents have the highest national rate of rape, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that doctors ask their patients if they have ever been sexually assaulted. Data demonstrated that sexual assault rates for victims aged 12-19 were more than double the rates for victims aged 25 and older. The recommendations offer approaches to integrating the sexual assault question into annual check-ups, counseling referrals, and preserving rape and sexual assault evidence.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 383,000 women were the victims of rape or sexual assault in 1999, a slight increase from the previous year, and only 28.3 percent of those crimes were reported to law enforcement [Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey]. Almost seven in ten rape or sexual assault victims report that the offender was an intimate, relative, friend, or acquaintance.

Many feminist activists and anti-domestic violence groups across the nation have been raising awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault both in the U.S. and worldwide. One such group, called One in Four, has launched a 7-month walk across America, from San Francisco to Washington DC. The group, walking 20-30 miles each day, is calling for public funding for rape kits and exams for victims of sexual violence.

For more information on One in Four, see Feminist Daily News April 16 and the One in Four walk website.

For more statistics on sexual assault and rape, visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics website and the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network

Media Resources: Associated Press June 4, 2001 and One in Four Press Release May 31, 2001 and Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice

   

     

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