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Teens at higher risk of injury, violence during sexual assault: Study

ANI | Updated: May 31, 2019 15:28 IST

Washington DC [USA], May 31 (ANI): A new study has found that teens are at a higher risk of injuries and violence during sexual assaults and there are 'striking similarities' in the types of injuries and violence experienced by adults and adolescent sexual assault victims.
According to the study published in the journal 'Child Abuse & Neglect,' majority of the victims were assaulted by a person they knew, such as a friend or acquaintance.
Sexual assaults by strangers were less common, occurring in 18 per cent of cases involving 12 to 15-year-old victims and nearly 31 per cent of cases with adult victims aged 18 and older, according to the study.
Likewise, adolescent victims experienced penetration and were assaulted using force, a weapon or bodily restraint at rates comparable to adult victims, the researchers found.
The study's researchers Theodore P Cross and Dr Thaddeus Schmitt compared forensic medical results and law enforcement actions in sexual assault cases that occurred in Massachusetts from 2008-10.
They pulled a random sample of cases from a statewide database of medical reports on sexual assault examinations conducted in hospital emergency departments, looking at data from crime laboratory reports, police records and sexual assault evidence collection kit forms.
The final sample in the study included 33 cases in which the victims were under age 12. There were 66 cases with victims in the 12-15 age group, 48 cases involving 16 to 17-year-old victims, and 416 cases with adult victims.
Biological evidence such as sperm/semen, blood and saliva, and DNA was found at similar rates among adults and adolescents but was significantly less likely to be found on children under age 12.
"Although previous studies suggested that obtaining biological evidence that could be matched to DNA profiles is greatest among adult victims, less common with adolescents and substantially less likely among children, we found no meaningful differences, nor was the rate of DNA matches to the suspect different," Cross said.
"It is surprising that the rate of DNA profiles and matches was not substantially less for children than older victims, given that finding biological products was less likely among child victims," he said.
The researchers also found that the use of force and choking the victim significantly increased with the age of the victim.
About half of the adults received nongenital injuries, compared with 27 per cent of children under age 12. Likewise, adolescents received nongenital and anogenital injuries at similar rates to adults, a finding that conflicted with most prior studies, according to the researchers.
"Almost half of younger adolescents were reported to have a nongenital injury and over one third had an anogenital injury," Schmitt said.
"These results should heighten concern about the trauma that even young adolescent victims experience," added Schmitt. (ANI)