Student sexual assault victims less likely to report attacks

University of Virginia fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, which is at the center of a disputed Rolling Stone story about a woman who said she'd been raped by members of the fraternity.
(Jay Paul / Getty Images)

A Department of Justice study released Thursday found that student victims of sexual assault are far less likely to report instances of rape to police than nonstudents and that one in five victims fear reprisal if they report the attack.

The data, which was compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and based on information collected through the National Crime Victimization Survey, focused on 100,000 sexual assault victims between the ages of 18 and 24 who were attacked between 1995 and 2013.

The data showed nonstudents in that age group were twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault; 32% of them reported their attacks to police, but only 20% of students did.

The report only accounted for victims who reported sexual assaults to police and did not include data on reports made to school officials or family members.

The entire report can be viewed here. The report also found that college-age women were three times as likely to be assaulted as girls between the ages of 12 and 17 or women older than 25.


A November Rolling Stone article discussing an alleged brutal rape at the University of Virginia has highlighted the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and the difficulties some victims have when trying to report those crimes to police or school administrators.

Although the nature of the assault discussed in the Rolling Stone article has been called into question in recent weeks, dozens of campuses across the county have been criticized for their alleged failure to properly respond to allegations of assault on campus this year.

The U.S. Department of Education earlier this year launched dozens of Title IX investigations into campus officials’ conduct after allegations of rape against students. The University of Virginia and four California campuses are among those under investigation.

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