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Factors associated with reporting of sexual assault among college and non-college women

Ryan Spohn (University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)
Abby Bjornsen (University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)
Emily M. Wright (University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 21 September 2017

Issue publication date: 16 October 2017

578

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine factors impacting college and non-college women reporting sexual assault to police. The goal is to increase knowledge regarding differences in the rates of reporting and reasons for reporting across these two groups.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were drawn from a national telephone survey of US women and a sample of US college women. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine factors influencing the reporting of sexual assault to police.

Findings

Non-college women were more likely than college women to report to police. Women who perceived their victimization as rape were much more likely to report to the police and women who had contact with a helping agency were also much more likely to report their assault. Contacting a helping agency is more relevant to non-college women’s reporting to police, while considering the assault a rape is more important for college women.

Practical implications

The results suggest that significant work is needed to encourage women in college to view sexual assaults as worthy of reporting. Boosting victim awareness and access to services is paramount. Providing education and empowerment to student victims to inform their perceptions about the definition of rape is vital, as women perceiving sexual assault as rape are more likely to report the incident.

Originality/value

The research significantly adds to the literature indicating differences in rates of reporting and the factors that impact reporting uniquely for college vs non-college women.

Keywords

Citation

Spohn, R., Bjornsen, A. and Wright, E.M. (2017), "Factors associated with reporting of sexual assault among college and non-college women", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 279-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-05-2017-0298

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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