Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Occur with Disturbing Frequency; Few Assaults are Reported to Police According to New Report
By MARY KAUFFMAN
February 11, 2016
The study also supported what many domestic violence and sexual assault professionals already know, these are not issues of “stranger danger,” which is what children and youth until recent years were being prepared against. According to the study, someone is much more likely to be assaulted by someone they know and trust than by a stranger with stranger sexual assault accounting for less than 5% of Alaska State Troopers’ sexual assault cases.
Because the evaluation of criminal justice processes from a bird’s eye perspective has been difficult for law enforcement and prosecution agencies to undertake, in 2013, the Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska Department of Law partnered with the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center housed at the University of Alaska Anchorage to do just that.
The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics to complete the Alaska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Case Processing Project: Descriptive Analysis of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Incidents Closed by the Alaska State Troopers: 2008 – 2011. According to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, their intention was to collaborate with the university to learn from the results from the study and to step towards data-driven policymaking to maximize the use of very limited departmental resources.
Dr. Brad Myrstol, Director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center University of Alaska Anchorage was the study's principal investigator along with Research Professional Khristy L. Parker, M.P.A. of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates that nationwide 4 out of every 1,000 persons age 12 and over experience one or more domestic violence victimizations each year, and that 1 out of every 1,000 persons age 12 and over experience one or more rape/sexual assault victimizations annually.3 Importantly, only about half (56.9%) of domestic violence victimizations and even fewer rape/sexual assault victimizations (34.8%) are reported to police.
According to the study, the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’s Alaska Victimization Survey has estimated Alaska-specific rates of intimate partner violence and sexual violence for adult women (only) of 94 per 1,000 and 43 per 1,000, respectively.4 Preliminary analysis of these Alaska Victimization Survey suggests that rates of reporting these offenses are lower in Alaska than the rest of the nation.
The findings presented in study were limited to only those incidents that were reported to police. Furthermore, the data that were gathered for this study were obtained from only one Alaska police agency – the Alaska State Troopers. It was noted that the results presented in the report are not a representative sample of all domestic violence and sexual assault incidents reported to all Alaska police agencies. Rather, the findings presented the report are limited to domestic violence and sexual assault incidents reported to only the Alaska State Troopers.
The results of the project have potential implications in a number of arenas including resource allocation, training for criminal justice professionals, as well as prevention work.
Some of the results of the three year study report:
The full report has been made available online for download by the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center.
Since 1986, the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) has been housed within the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center. The AJSAC assists Alaska criminal justice agencies, as well as state and local governments and officials, with the development, implementation, and evaluation of criminal justice programs and policies through the collection, analysis, and reporting of crime and justice statistics. There are currently 52 Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) located in the United States and its Territories.
Since 1941, AST has served as the primary and police presence in communities that do not have their own local police departments. Troopers provide direct services to approximately a third of Alaska’s total population.
The Alaska State Troopers is the second-largest state/local police agency in Alaska employing on average 352 sworn officers during the four years of the study period (2008- 2011). The largest police agency in the state, the Anchorage Police Department, employed an average of 382 sworn officers during the same period.
AST is organized into five geographic detachments that provide patrol, law enforcement, and search and rescue services. Detachment headquarters are located in Ketchikan (A-Detachment, Southeast Alaska), Palmer (B-Detachment, South Central Alaska), Anchorage (C-Detachment, Western Alaska), Fairbanks (D-Detachment Interior Alaska), and Soldotna (E-Detachment, Kenai Peninsula). AST also operates three specialty bureaus: the Alaska Bureau of Investigations, the Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol, and Judicial Services.
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