U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

How Adolescents Perceive Sexual Assault Services

NCJ Number
Health and Social Work Volume: 10 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1985) Pages: 120-128
Date Published
9 pages
In an effort to improve sexual assault services to adolescents, the predominant age group among rape victims, this survey of adolescents in the Milwaukee, Wis., metropolitan area determined their knowledge of and attitudes toward rape, including their awareness and views of sexual assault treatment centers.
The sample of 513 females and 460 males between ages 14 and 17 was obtained through a random phone digit dialing procedure. The sample was representative of the Milwaukee area. With parental consent, the adolescents were interviewed in person about their attitudes toward sex roles, male-female relationships, and sexual assault. Questions about treatment centers concerned respondents' awareness of centers, their motivation to use them, and barriers to their use. Respondents had a high level of awareness of the value of treatment center services (comprehensive services that encompass physical, psychological, and legal services) and expressed a willingness to go to a treatment center in the event of rape. In reality, however, this intention to seek treatment services may be undermined by respondents' uncertainty about the nature of rape (particularly forced sexual intercourse by a friend), inadequate knowledge of the emotions associated with rape, and inexperience in dealing with social agencies. Because of this, public relations programs should define sexual assault within typical adolescent sexual experiences and identify emotional reactions typically associated with sexual assault. School personnel trusted by adolescents should have the knowledge to refer rape victims to treatment centers. 4 tables and 14 references.

Date Published: January 1, 1985