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Physical and gynecological examinations in female victims of sexual violence with special emphasis on crime-reporting behaviour


Germerott, Tanja; Bode-Jänisch, Stefanie; Thali, Michael J (2012). Physical and gynecological examinations in female victims of sexual violence with special emphasis on crime-reporting behaviour. Archiv für Kriminologie, 230(3-4):88-98.

Abstract

Sexual abuse of females is a common form of violence with a high dark figure. While part of the victims decide to report the event to the police, many women are embarrassed to do so for a number of reasons. Retrospectively, examinations performed in Berne (Switzerland) between 2006 and 2008 in cases with and without report to the police were analyzed. Altogether, 207 examinations were carried out during that period (65.2% reported to the police, 34.8% without report to the police). 20% of the incidents were reported to the police after the examination. One third of the victims in both groups claimed that the perpetrator was unknown to them. More than 40% of the women in both groups had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. 73% of the victims (reporting the crime) and 61% of those not filing a crime report described penile-vaginal contacts. Blackouts were claimed in 14% of the cases reported to the police and 33% of those not reported. Genital lesions were found in about one third and extragenital injuries in more than 50% of cases in both groups. No condom had been used in a large percentage of cases or its use was uncertain. Unprotected vaginal ejaculation was reported by about one third of the victims in both groups and could not be reliably excluded in 28% of cases. In 43.8% (reported to police) and 47.1% (not reported), no contraceptive method had been applied by the women. The results of the present study show similar distributions in both groups for numerous factors (factual circumstances and injury pattern). However, in the group not filing a complaint with the police blackouts were reported more often, which may have induced the victims not to report the incident to the police at first. The fact that in about 20% of these cases the women went to the police later underlines the importance of offering documentation usable as evidence in court and preserving evidence independent of whether the incident has already been reported to the police or not. Reasons why victims present for examination may also be fear of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Clarification of these points should therefore also be offered.

Abstract

Sexual abuse of females is a common form of violence with a high dark figure. While part of the victims decide to report the event to the police, many women are embarrassed to do so for a number of reasons. Retrospectively, examinations performed in Berne (Switzerland) between 2006 and 2008 in cases with and without report to the police were analyzed. Altogether, 207 examinations were carried out during that period (65.2% reported to the police, 34.8% without report to the police). 20% of the incidents were reported to the police after the examination. One third of the victims in both groups claimed that the perpetrator was unknown to them. More than 40% of the women in both groups had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. 73% of the victims (reporting the crime) and 61% of those not filing a crime report described penile-vaginal contacts. Blackouts were claimed in 14% of the cases reported to the police and 33% of those not reported. Genital lesions were found in about one third and extragenital injuries in more than 50% of cases in both groups. No condom had been used in a large percentage of cases or its use was uncertain. Unprotected vaginal ejaculation was reported by about one third of the victims in both groups and could not be reliably excluded in 28% of cases. In 43.8% (reported to police) and 47.1% (not reported), no contraceptive method had been applied by the women. The results of the present study show similar distributions in both groups for numerous factors (factual circumstances and injury pattern). However, in the group not filing a complaint with the police blackouts were reported more often, which may have induced the victims not to report the incident to the police at first. The fact that in about 20% of these cases the women went to the police later underlines the importance of offering documentation usable as evidence in court and preserving evidence independent of whether the incident has already been reported to the police or not. Reasons why victims present for examination may also be fear of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Clarification of these points should therefore also be offered.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Language:German
Date:2012
Deposited On:12 Feb 2013 13:35
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:32
Publisher:Verlag Schmidt-Romhild
ISSN:0003-9225
PubMed ID:23136698

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