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Understanding Intimate Partner Sexual Assaults: Findings from Sexual Assault Kits.

NCJ Number
Journal of Aggression Maltreatment & Trauma Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Dated: 2019 Pages: 8-24
Rachel E. Lovell; Cyleste C. Collins; Margaret J. McGuire; Laura T. Overman; Misty N. Luminais; Daniel J. Flannery
Date Published
17 pages
Based on data obtained from a Cuyahoga County (Ohio) project that began DNA testing and investigating nearly 5,000 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) from 1993 through 2009, the current study integrated the available data on the offenders, victims, the initial investigation, and the specifics of the assault to provide a better understanding of intimate partner sexual assault (UIPSA).
The current study found that just over one-third of the IPSA offenders were serial sex offenders; that is, the offenders sexually assaulted an intimate partner and another person(s). Comparing IPSAs to all other sexual assaults, IPSAs more frequently involved bodily force and less frequently involved a weapon. Also, IPSA investigations were more often closed compared to other sexual assault cases, because (1) the victims stated they lied or the police doubted the victims, and (2) the victims declined to prosecute. The most common sequencing of events was a demand for sex by the offender followed by a verbal refusal by the victim and the use of bodily force in the sexual assault. The findings, however, indicate significant variation in the sequencing of events surrounding the sexual assault, with just over 25 percent involving no physical confrontation before or after the sexual assault and no demands for sex. Unsubmitted SAK data provide a unique window into understanding the understudied and underreported issue of IPSA. (publisher abstract modified)