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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-19-07

Minnesota Pioneers First-Ever Report on the High Cost of Sexual Assault

In an effort to initiate a statewide plan for sexual assault prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health released a first-of-its-kind report illustrating the economic implications of sexual assault, placing the final figure at approximately $8 billion dollars in 2005. "This is a major public health and safety concern, not only because of the financial costs, but for the devastating effects these assaults have on the victims and their families," Dianne Mandernach, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, said in a release.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 61,000 children and adults were sexually assaulted in 2005, some of whom were victimized on more than one occasion. The report, titled "Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota," quantifies the economic impact, which is absorbed by victims, perpetrators, family members, and the state, of such abuse. For example, the sexual assault of a child costs $184,000 on average and $139,000 for adults. By far, the highest cost of sexual assault is "suffering and lost quality of life," which accounted for $6.4 billion of the some $8 billion. The report measure the financial burdens of sexual violence, including criminal justice costs, lost time at work, victim services, medical and mental health, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, suicide attempts, and suicides.

The release of the report comes on the heels of a high-profile rape case in Minnesota, in which University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones has been charged with raping an unconscious woman while a friend recorded footage of the incident on his cell phone's video recorder.

The Minnesota Department of Health and other concerned agencies and organizations are working together to develop and implement a state plan for sexual assault prevention. Officials hope that other states will use the report as a model and follow suit to assess the impact of sexual assault in other states, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Media Resources: Minnesota Department of Health release 7/17/07; ABC News 7/17/07; Minnesota Public Radio 7/17/07; AP 7/18/07


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