BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:00 P.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2008 Contact: Kara McCarthy: 202-307-1241 After hours: 781-308-3696


About One in Five Were Confirmed After an Investigation

WASHINGTON—State, local and private juvenile correctional authorities reported an estimated 4,072 allegations of sexual violence involving youth held in juvenile facilities during 2005 and 2006, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. It was the equivalent of 16.8 allegations per 1,000 youth held in state, local or private facilities in 2006 and 16.7 allegations per 1,000 youth in 2005.

An estimated 36 percent of the allegations of sexual violence in juvenile facilities were youth-on-youth nonconsensual sexual acts, such as rape and forcible sodomy; 21 percent were youth-on-youth abusive sexual contacts, such as unwanted touching or grabbing with the intention to exploit sexually.

About 32 percent of all allegations of sexual violence reported in state juvenile systems and local or private juvenile facilities involved staff sexual misconduct, defined as any act of a sexual nature directed toward a youth, either consensual or nonconsensual; 11 percent involved staff sexual harassment, including repeated comments or demeaning references of a sexual nature to a youth.

Juvenile correctional authorities substantiated 732 incidents of youth sexual violence in 2005 and 2006. An estimated 437 incidents involved youth-on-youth and 295 involved staff-on-youth. Nearly equal percentages of the incidents of youth-on-youth sexual violence were reported as voluntary sexual acts (22 percent), unwanted touching for sexual gratification (21 percent) and nonconsensual sexual acts involving force or pressure (21 percent).

Sexual misconduct involving staff-on-youth accounted for 28 percent of all substantiated incidents, while staff sexual harassment of youth accounted for 8 percent.

Victims of substantiated incidents of youth-on-youth sexual violence were more likely to be male (73 percent) than victims of staff-on-youth violence (49 percent). Females were more likely to be victims of staff sexual violence than victims of youth-on-youth sexual violence (51 percent versus 27 percent).

More than 60 percent of incidents of sexual violence took place outside the victim’s room or dormitory. A quarter of the incidents took place in a common area. In more than two-thirds of the incidents, the victim or another youth reported the incident.

Force or threat of force was more common among male victims (32 percent) of youth-on-youth incidents of sexual violence than among female victims (6 percent). A third of older victims (age 16 or older) had been injured, physically forced, held down or threatened (34 percent).

Approximately 10 percent of the substantiated incidents of staff-on-youth sexual violence involved force or pressure. Two-thirds were characterized by juvenile correctional authorities as “a romantic relationship” or as “appeared to be willing.” About half of staff perpetrators were male (54 percent) and a majority were under the age of 30 (63 percent).

Across all substantiated incidents of youth-on-youth sexual violence about 1 in 8 victims were injured (12 percent). Victims received medical attention and counseling or mental health treatment in nearly two-thirds of the incidents. Nearly half of all victims of staff-on-youth sexual misconduct or harassment were provided counseling or mental health treatment.

Sixty-three percent of perpetrators of youth-on-youth nonconsensual sexual acts received some form of legal sanction, including referral to law enforcement, arrest, referral for prosecution or a new sentence. Perpetrators of staff-on-youth sexual misconduct or harassment were arrested or referred for prosecution in nearly 40 percent of the incidents; nearly 90 percent resigned or were discharged.

The report is a part of the data collections required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-79). Its publication is mandated by the act and is prepared annually.

The report, Sexual Violence Reported by Juvenile Correctional Authorities 2005-06 (NCJ 215337), was written by BJS statisticians Allen J. Beck, Devon B. Adams, and Paul Guerino. Following publication, the report can be found at

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS Web site at

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at

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