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Sexual Assault & Abuse
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Sexual Assault Perpetrators

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Sexual Assault Perpetrators

There is no one description of perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse.  Research indicates:

  • Most perpetrators, about 7 in 10, know their victim.  This can be a dating partner, a friend, friend of a friend, neighbor, family member, spouse, coworker, teacher, or any other acquaintance.

Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).

  • Some perpetrators, about 3 in 10, are strangers to the victim.
    Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).
     
  • Perpetrators use emotional pressure, grooming behavior, and coercion and/or physical force to commit the assault. Weapons such as gun or knives are rarely used. Perpetrators use personal weapons such as hands, feet or teeth against victims in 2 out of 3 cases.
    Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2013 (2014).
     
  • Perpetrators often commit other crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, or other sexual assaults.  He or she may have a criminal history.
    Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2009 (2013).
  • A perpetrator can be any race, age, or gender. However, most perpetrators are adult men.
    Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010 (2013).
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