Case Characteristics of Untested Sexual Assault Kits in Los Angeles

Sidebar to the article Solving Sexual Assaults: Finding Answers Through Research by Nancy Ritter

One of the goals of the NIJ-funded study of sexual assault kits (SAKs) in the property rooms of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department was to determine some of the case characteristics. The researchers did this by looking at a 20 percent random sample of the previously untested SAKs. Here are some of the findings:

  • Ninety-four percent of the victims were female.
  • Ninety-two percent of the assailants were male.
  • The average age of the victims was 22 years; approximately 40 percent of the victims were under 18.
  • Sixty-five percent of the victims knew the assailant.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the victims reported vaginal penetration by the penis, a finger or a foreign object.
  • Anal penetration was attempted or achieved in 32 percent of the cases.
  • The assailant engaged in nongenital acts in 58 percent of the cases; the most common were kissing (39 percent), fondling (14 percent) and licking (14 percent).
  • Twenty-nine percent of the victims reported that the assailant used contraceptives or lubricants; victims reported that the assailants used condoms in 11 percent of the assaults.
  • Victims said they believed the assailant ejaculated in 28 percent of the cases.
  • A great majority of the victims — 80 percent — engaged in some form of post-assault hygiene prior to the sexual-assault exam:
    • Seventy-three percent urinated or defecated.
    • Fifty-five percent ate, drank, gargled, rinsed or brushed their teeth.
    • Fifty-four percent used a genital wipe or douche.
    • Forty-six percent changed their clothing.

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Date Created: June 15, 2012