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Publication Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault

January 1, 1997    NCJ 163931

In 1995 persons age 12 or older reported an estimated 260,300 attempted or completed rapes and nearly 95,000 threatened or completed sexual assaults other than rape. This is a significant decline from 1993. In 1994 and 1995 one-third of the victims said that the rape/sexual assault victimization was reported to a law enforcement agency. In 1995 the number of forcible rapes reported to the police nationwide was 97,460, the lowest total since 1989. Approximately half of rape defendants are released prior to trial. In 1992 an estimated 21,655 felony defendants nationwide were convicted of rape; 8 in 10 had pleaded guilty. Over two-thirds of convicted rape defendants received a prison sentence. For rape defendants sentenced to prison, the average term imposed was just under 14 years. Approximately 2 percent of convicted rapists received life sentences. In two 3- year followups of samples of felons placed on probation and of felons released from prison, rapists had a lower rate of rearrest for a new violent felony than most other categories of offenders convicted of a violent offense. Yet, rapists were more likely than others to be rearrested for a new rape. After the latter half of the 1980's, the percentage of all murders with known circumstances in which investigators identified rape or another sex offense as the principal circumstance of the murder has declined from approximately 2 percent of murders to less than 1 percent. 5 figures and 1 table

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