College student victimization is currently a major public health problem, with 20%–25% of female students and 7% of male students experiencing at least one sexual assault (Flack et al., 2015). Nearly 57% of adults who report experiencing abusive and violent dating behaviors said it occurred in college (National Domestic Violence Hotline), and 12% of college students experience stalking (McNamara & Marsil, 2012). Victimization is associated with lower academic efficacy, higher stress, and lower institutional commitment (Banyard et al., 2020; Jordan, Combs, & Smith, 2014).
Certain violent offenders—especially sexual homicide offenders (SHOs)—have been reported to engage in specific acts at the crime scene that are unnecessary to successfully commit the crime but may serve a psychological need for the offender (e.g., sexual gratification). In studies of sadistic sex offenders—many of whom had killed their victims—the rate of cases where the offender involuntarily inserted an object into any orifice of the victim (foreign object insertion, FOI), reported to be as high as 40% to 65% (Dietz et al., 1990; Warren et al., 1996).
One in four women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Despite the high prevalence of sexual assault, it remains one of the most underreported crimes to law enforcement. Women cite numerous reasons for lack of reporting to police, including shame, not wanting to get in trouble, fear of disbelief from law enforcement, and the use of substances at the time of the assault (Spencer et al., 2017). Among women who do report their sexual assaults, a high percentage are deemed by police to be false or baseless and therefore coded as “unfounded” (Johnson, 2017).
Current reported prevalence rates indicate that females commit approximately 4%–5% of all sexual offences worldwide. There is growing recognition that females engage in harmful sexual behavior that is similar in severity and type to males. Specifically, current prevalence rates indicate that females commit approximately 4%–5% of all sexual offences worldwide. Despite evidence that sexual offences committed by females have similar physical psychological impacts on victims (Kaufman, 2010), sexual offending by women is often perceived as less harmful (Denov, 2001).
Sexual assault (SA) is associated with a variety of negative consequences for survivors’ physical and mental wellbeing (Pemberton & Loeb, 2020). The trauma and impact of SA may be exacerbated when survivors are met with negative reactions upon disclosure (e.g., Martin, 2005).
Firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2020 were around double among Black women and men (6.6 and 56.0 per100,000 people, respectively) than among other racial groups including American Indian or Alaska native women and men (3.4; 20.2), Asian or Pacific Islander women and men (0.9; 5.3), and White women and men (3.5; 20.0; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2021). These large and persistent racial disparities in firearm-related deaths demonstrate the need to confront firearm-related harm for both public health and health equity.
“Just Bring Us the Real Ones”: The Role of Forensic Crime Laboratories in Guarding the Gateway to Justice for Sexual Assault Victims
Most sexual assaults are never prosecuted, as less than 10% of cases reported to the police end in a conviction or guilty plea (see Lonsway & Archambault, 2012; Shaw & Lee, 2019 for reviews). The most precipitous drop-off in case progression occurs quite early in the process, as law enforcement personnel clear most cases without a referral to prosecutors for consideration of charges (Bouffard, 2000; Campbell, 2008; Pattavina et al., 2016; Spohn et al., 2014). Kerstetter (1990) argued that these actions by the police “form the gateway to the criminal justice system” (p.
Sexual assault is common in sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals. While rates of assault are believed to be high, few studies have examined SGM victims’ disclosure experiences. While less studied, there is an increasing body of literature documenting that trans and other gender diverse (TGD) individuals have especially high rates of sexual assault victimization. For example, research suggests that 43–50% of TGD individuals report experiencing a sexual assault (Clements-Nolle et al., 2006; Risser et al., 2005 Stotzer, 2009).
The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between crime scene behaviors and background characteristics of offenders who commit sexual offenses against female victims aged 60 years or more. Research and understanding of offense behaviors in this area is extremely limited; therefore, the study sought to provide a preliminary understanding and multivariate model of offense behaviors in cases where older female adults were sexually abused.
Integrating the Literature on Lethal Violence: A Comparison of Mass Murder, Homicide, and Homicide-Suicide
With 43 attacks claiming over 200 victims, mass killings reached a forty-year high in 2019. Defined as the killing of four or more individuals (excluding the offender) within 24 hours, mass murders are incredibly rare events that account for less than 1% of all homicides (Krouse & Richardson, 2015). Despite their rarity, mass killings disproportionately impact policy due to widespread public concern.