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Reporting Sexual Assault to the Police in Hawaii

NCJ Number
184179
Author(s)
Libby O. Ruch; Barry J. Coyne; Paul A. Perrone
Date Published
July 2000
Length
53 pages
Annotation
This paper reports on the methodology and findings of a study that investigated variables which facilitate the reporting of sexual assault to the police in Hawaii; implications of the findings are drawn for treatment centers and criminal justice agencies.
Abstract
The study involved a sample of 709 female victims of non-incestuous assault who were 14 years old or older and were treated at the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Of these, 529 (74.6 percent) sought treatment within 72 hours of the assault ("Immediate Treatment Seekers"), and 180 (25.4 percent) sought treatment over 72 hours after the assault ("Delayed Treatment Seekers"). Bivariate relationships between a single independent variable and the dependent variable (reporting sexual assault) were examined by computing two-variable frequency tables. The significance of the relationship between the independent variable and reporting status was assessed by conducting Pearson's chi-square tests. For the total sample, 70.7 percent of the victims reported the sexual assault to the police. The findings of the multivariate analysis show that seven variables that relate to the victim and the sexual assault positively correlated with reporting the assault to the police. These variables are as follows: assailant threatened to harm or kill the victim; victim attempted to flee and escape her attacker; victim yelled or screamed for help; victim tried to track or fool the assailant; victim sustained no physical injury in addition to the sexual assault; victim was a member of a non-Asian ethnic group; and the victim attributed no or low self-blame to herself for the assault. This report suggests a project that would develop materials for community workshops on sexual assault and provide hands-on training for what to do if assaulted. 19 tables and 19 references

Date Published: July 1, 2000