208868 In Minnesota, sexual violence costs much more than drunk driving

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ted R. Miller, PhD , Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD
Dexter M. Taylor, PhD , Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD
Monique A. Sheppard, PhD , Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD
Background: Sexual violence is not an injury prevention priority.

Methods: We estimated costs of sexual violence in Minnesota and are developing additional state estimates. Cost categories include medical care, mental health care, victim services, foster care, police services, perpetrator treatment, adjudication and sanctioning, victim loss of wages, and lost quality of life. We estimated probabilities and costs of sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and suicide acts caused by sexual assault and of youth sexual assault causing alcohol, tobacco, or other drug abuse. Unit costs came from national crime surveys, the health care system, state sanctioning budgets, and published literature. Quality of life losses were estimated from lawsuits against businesses whose negligence contributed to a sexual assault. Published costs of drunk driving were tweaked for comparability to the sexual assault costs.

Results: In 2005, 61,000 Minnesota residents were sexually assaulted, suffering an average of 1.26 assaults per victim. Police logged 7,200 reports of “unwanted sexual intercourse,” but only 2,617 met the law enforcement definition of rape. Sexual violence cost 3.3 times as much as alcohol-impaired driving in Minnesota. Costs totaled $8 billion. State government spent $130 million on sexual violence perpetrators and $90 million on victims. Males victims accounted for a larger share of adult costs (29%) than child costs (19%). Child costs were 52% of the total.

Conclusions: Sexual assault prevention and victim assistance are underfunded. Males merit preventive/victim services. Two-thirds of police-reported incidents are omitted from national rape statistics. The Uniform Crime Reports should expand its sexual assault codes.

Learning Objectives:
Learn that sexual violence is a very large problem with minimal preventive services Learn that both males and females merit victim and preventive services Learn that the Uniform Crime Reports needs to be pressured to capture omitted sexual assault codes that account for 2/3 of police-reported cases

Keywords: Sexual Assault, Cost Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in a subdiscipline of economics and more than 25 years of experience as a safety economist including 20 years studying the epidemioilogy and costs of violence.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.