1997 Academy Text Supplement

Chapter 14

Sexual Assault

Statistical Overview

New Data on the Financial Impact of Sexual Assault

New Developments in Targeting Sexual Assault

Against Young Victims

Because the overwhelming majority of sexual crimes are committed by intimates and against youth, victim assistance, rape awareness and prevention programs are increasingly targeting grade school and junior high school students. Significantly, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act provides priority funding for educational programs targeted to middle and junior high school students. For example:

Privacy Rights of Sexual Assault Victims

Privacy remains a critical concern of victims of sexual assault, and a primary factor in non-reporting. Several states have enacted privacy protection laws to prevent the name and address, or other identifying information about rape victims, to be made public. In addition, many law enforcement agencies have adopted policies to exclude such information before the release of police reports to the media.

Drug-Related Rape

An emerging issue in the past few years has been the use of legal and illegal drugs by potential rapists who sedate their intended victims involuntarily. Such drugs are put into non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages in a variety of social settings. Substance-related rapes present severe difficulties for survivors of rape, as well as for those trying to prevent their victimization. Many articles have appeared in the media about the threat and the susceptibility of individuals to this type of victimization.

According to the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the most threatening problem is the emergence of a drug that results "in the inability of the rape survivor to remember the details of what happened as a result of the heavy sedating effect of the drug and/or alcohol heightens the difficulty of gathering information that could help prosecute the offender." (NCASA News, Volume 6, Number 1, April 1997)

Congress passed the following Act in 1996:

According to the April 1997 edition of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault News, there are new drug testing capabilities available that may help in collecting evidence in relation to substance abuse cases. Hoffmann-La Roche, a major pharmaceutical company, is offering a free testing service because of its concern that one of its medicines -- Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) has been misused. Currently, the medicine is not legally available within the United States, but is available in 80 countries outside the United States for the treatment of severe sleeping disorders.

While many other drugs and alcohol are used to induce potential victims, rape crisis centers, law enforcement officials, and hospital emergency rooms involved in the investigation of sexual assault cases where drug misuse is suspected should call (800) 608-6540 to access this free testing service. The testing is performed by an independent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-certified forensic toxicology laboratory. According to NCASA, the urine sample is tested for amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, including flunitrazepam, cocaine, marijuana, and opiates. The results of the tests are returned directly to the rape crisis center, law enforcement official, or hospital emergency room and, most importantly, the identity of the victim is kept confidential. (Denise Snyder, "Drug Testing for Substance-Related Rape," NCASA News, April 1997, Volume 6, No. 1, p.16)

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