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Serving Adolescent Victims

Adolescents have the highest rates of rape and other sexual assaults of any age group in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice reported annual rates of sexual assault per 1,000 persons (males and females) in 1998 to be 3.5 for ages 12–15, 5 for ages 16–19, 4.6 for ages 20–24, and 1.7 for ages 24–29.31

Significant gender differences exist in adolescent rape and sexual assault cases, with the rate of female victims exceeding that of males. The National Crime Victimization Survey reported 308,569 sexual assaults in females age 12 or older and 21,519 sexual assaults in males age 12 or older in 1998.32 The U.S. Department of Justice reported that more than half of all rape and sexual assault victims in 1998 were females younger than 25 years old.33

Studies have demonstrated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all adolescent sexual assaults are perpetrated by an acquaintance or relative. Older adolescent victims are most commonly victimized during social encounters with assailants (e.g., dates). With younger adolescent victims, the assailant is more likely to be a member of the adolescent's extended family. Adolescents with developmental disabilities, especially those with mild intellectual disabilities, are at particularly high risk for acquaintance and date rape.

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