A new report released today by the Office of Justice Assistance (OJA) finds the number of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement has increased by 5% from 2009.
OJA’s Statistical Analysis Center used Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data submitted by almost 400 law enforcement agencies to conduct an analysis on six sexual assault offense types—as defined by the Wisconsin UCR program.
As with any sensitive crime, the number of offenses reported to law enforcement is not totally representative of all assaults committed.
Law enforcement is one of many groups that may serve as a first responder to a victim of sexual assault. Victim service agencies, hospitals, emergency room staff, medical staff, family doctors, sexual assault programs, counselors, and clergy may be the first contacts for victims seeking services or support after an assault has occurred.
Victims who report their assaults to non-law enforcement service providers may choose to not report the incident to law enforcement.
Sexual assault is the number one underreported crime across the nation and in Wisconsin. The FBI estimates only about 33% of sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement. Available data and statistical projections estimate that only 19% of sexual assaults in Wisconsin are reported to law enforcement.
This report should be considered one method of gauging the number of sexual assaults occurring in Wisconsin.
The report finds that the number of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement slightly increased from the previous year. In 2010 4,857 assaults were reported to law enforcement, up from 4,633 sexual assaults reported in 2009. In more than half of all reported sexual assaults, the offender was a non-family member who was known by the victim.