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PHOM Indicator Report of Rape

Why Is This Important?

Sexual violence in Utah is a serious public health problem affecting thousands of residents each year. Studies in Utah indicate that one in eight women and one in 50 men will experience rape in their lifetimes and nearly one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence during their lives.

Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average. In a state where other violent crimes, such as homicide, robbery, or aggravated assault, is historically half to three times lower than the national average, this is of concern.

Rape affects the quality of life and may have lasting consequences for victims. The 2010 Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System showed that rape victims had a significantly higher prevalence in reporting that they were not satisfied with life (14.7% vs. 4.8%), didn't receive the social and emotional support they need (33.8% vs. 13.2%), had fair or poor health (25.9% vs. 10.7%), and were limited in activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems (39.2% vs. 19.7%).

Furthermore, females were significantly more likely to report sexual violence adverse childhood experiences compared to males. Females were twice as likely to report being touched sexually by an adult or forced to sexually touch an adult as a child compared to males. Females were seven times more likely to report being raped as a child compared to males.

The impact of sexual violence on the community is costly. At $127 billion per year, rape has the highest annual victim costs of any crime.

1) Utah Health Status Update, Sexual Violence, April 2008, (accessed 11/14/2014)
2) Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, 2007 Rape in Utah Survey, (accessed 11/14/2014)
3) Utah Health Status Update, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Health, July 2011, (accessed 11/14/2014)
4) U.S. Department of Justice, Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look, 1996.

Female Forcible Rape, Utah and U.S., 2002-2012

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Data Sources

  • Bureau of Criminal Identification, Utah Department of Public Safety
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2013

Data Notes

Forcible rape, as defined in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults and attempts to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded. The rape rate includes only those that have been reported to law enforcement and is an underestimate of the actual rape rate. Some law enforcement agencies do not submit a full 12 months of data and some agencies do not submit any data at all.

Risk Factors

Research has identified the following risk factors for sexual violence perpetration: alcohol and drug use, impulsive and antisocial tendencies, hostility towards women, history of sexual abuse as a child, witnessing family violence as a child, associating with sexually aggressive and delinquent peers, strongly patriarchal relationship or family environment, lack of employment opportunities, general tolerance of sexual assault within the community, weak community sanctions against perpetrators of sexual violence, societal norms that support sexual violence, male superiority and sexual entitlement, and weak laws and policies related to gender equity.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Sexual Violence Fact Sheet (accessed 11/14/2014)

How Are We Doing?

From 2002 to 2012, Utah Uniform Crime Reports show that Salt Lake, Tooele, Carbon, and Uintah counties had a significantly higher reported rape rate than the state rate of 70.1 per 100,000 female population. Davis, Summit, Cache, Washington, Utah, Juab, San Juan, Sanpete, Wasatch, Emery*, Morgan*, and Beaver* counties had significantly lower reported rapes than the state.

Unfortunately the majority of rapes (88.2%) are not reported to law enforcement according to the 2007 Rape in Utah Survey. This clearly indicates that sexual violence rates are underestimated. Because we know that rape is underreported, it is difficult to gauge the magnitude of the problem using federal and state crime reports.

The 2010 Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) sexual violence data revealed that 12.2% of adult females and 1.2% of adult males experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. According to the 2007 Rape in Utah survey, 78.7% of females reported that their first sexual assault occurred before their 18th birthday.

In addition, the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that 8.9% of Utah female high school students have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to, compared to 5.9% of male high school students.

*Use caution when interpreting results, estimate is unreliable.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) and the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) collaborated in 1999 to enlist individuals, organizations, and agencies to participate in a statewide multi-disciplinary council addressing sexual violence. In 2003, the Utah Sexual Violence Council (USVC) was formed. The USVC is a multi-disciplinary, statewide advisory council that promotes a climate where sexual violence is addressed as a priority issue that impacts all Utah communities. Its vision is to change social norms and improve Utah's understanding of the overwhelming significance of this public health, social service, and criminal justice problem.

Since 2000, the VIPP has received Rape Prevention and Education Grants from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The intent of the grant is to ensure that UCASA, as well as rape recovery centers and other community based organizations, engage in collaborative efforts with the VIPP to provide rape primary prevention and education services.

Healthy People Objective IVP-40:

(Developmental) Reduce sexual violence
U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 01/12/2015

Other Views

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Wed, 01 July 2015 0:32:57 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:13:33 MST