Courts & Crime

Survey shows domestic violence rates are high in Alaska

The first survey of Alaska women about sexual assault and domestic violence found that more than half had been victimized at some point in their life and about one in eight had been victimized in the year before the survey.

The University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center surveyed 871 Alaska adult women by telephone in May and June under a $280,000 state grant. Women were picked randomly. Researchers called cell phone and land line numbers from across the state.

For years, Alaska has struggled with high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence, but those findings are most often based on crimes reported to law enforcement. The new survey found much higher rates:

Overall, almost 59 percent of the women surveyed said they had experienced physical violence or threats of it from a partner, or sexual violence from anyone, at some point in their lives, the survey found. If that percentage holds true for the population as a whole, that means an estimated 145,000 Alaska women have been victimized, said Andre Rosay, Justice Center director and the lead researcher.

Nearly 27 percent of the women said that over their lifetime they had had unwanted sex when they were drunk, high or passed out, and unable to consent. Almost as many had been sexually assaulted after being subjected to physical force or threats, the survey found.

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