Reported rapes fall as technology advances

Oct. 7, 2009 at 7:52 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Advances in DNA technology and the willingness of victims to work with police are reducing the number of reported U.S. rapes, advocates say.

Statistics provided by the FBI indicate 89,000 women reported being raped in 2008, or 29 women per 100,000 people, which is well down from the 109,062 reported rapes in 1992, or 43 women for every 100,000 people, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"We have seen reform in how police work with victims, gather evidence and investigate rape; we've seen increased awareness of the crime, and we've seen better prosecution," Michael Males, senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice in San Francisco, told the newspaper. "Hospitals now have rape kits that they didn't have 40 years ago."

"The level of interest and professionalism dealing with sexual assault cases increased as a result," added Scott Berkowitz, president of the victims advocacy group Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

Kim Gandy, past president of the National Organization for Women and a former prosecutor, told USA Today DNA testing can now pinpoint a rapist, enabling prosecutors to use more than just a victim's identification of an attacker.

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