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Women Ages 18-24 Are at an Elevated Risk of Sexual Violence

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

Sexual Violence Is More Prevalent at College, Compared to Other Crimes

About 1 in 6 college-aged female survivors received assistance from a victim services agency.221% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.2

College-Age Victims of Sexual Violence Often Do Not Report to Law Enforcement

Because this study allowed victims to cite more than one reason for not reporting to law enforcement, this statistic may not total 100%. Only 20% of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement.1Only 32% of nonstudent females the same age do make a report.1

Sexual Violence May Occur at a Higher Rate at Certain Times of the Year

More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.4Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.4

Campus Law Enforcement Has a Significant Role in Addressing and Responding to College Sexual Assault

86% of sworn campus law enforcement officials have legal authority to make an arrest outside of the campus grounds.586% of sworn campus law enforcement agencies have a staff member responsible for rape prevention programming.570% of campus law enforcement agencies have memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with local law enforcement.572% of campus law enforcement agencies have a staff member responsible for survivor response and assistance.5Among 4-year academic institutions with 2,500 students or more, 75% employ armed officers, a 10% increase in the last decade.5

Understanding RAINN’s statistics

Sexual violence is notoriously difficult to measure, and there is no single source of data that provides a complete picture of the crime. On RAINN’s website, we have tried to select the most reliable source of statistics for each topic. The primary data source we use is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is an annual study conducted by the Justice Department. To conduct NCVS, researchers interview tens of thousands of Americans each year to learn about crimes that they’ve experienced. Based on those interviews, the study provides estimates of the total number of crimes, including those that were not reported to police. While NCVS has a number of limitations (most importantly, children under age 12 are not included), overall, it is the most reliable source of crime statistics in the U.S.

We have also relied on other Justice Department studies, as well as data from the Department of Health and Human Services and other government and academic sources. When assembling these statistics, we have generally retained the wording used by the authors. Statistics are presented for educational purposes only. Each statistic includes a footnote citation for the original source, where you can find information about the methodology and a definition of terms.

Learn more about RAINN's statistics.


Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics,  Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014). David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Chibnall, Reanna Townsend, et. al. Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (September 21, 2015). ("Victim services agency” is defined in this study as a “public or privately funded organization that provides victims with support and services to aid their recovery, offer protection, guide them through the criminal justice process, and assist with obtaining restitution.” RAINN presents this data for educational purposes only, and strongly recommends using the citations to review any and all sources for more information and detail.)i. National Crime Victimization Survey, 1995-2013 (2015); ii. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014). Campus Sexual Assault Study, 2007; Matthew Kimble, Andrada Neacsiu, et. Al, Risk of Unwanted Sex for College Women: Evidence for a Red Zone, Journal of American College Health (2008). Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-2012 (2015).