Understanding the Crime of Sexual Assault

 

The high profile public stories about the crime of sexual assault heighten everyone's awareness on the issue. Whether it's basketball star Kobe Bryant, rock star Michael Jackson or serial rapist Brent Brents, it's important to increase knowledge and awareness about the crime of sexual assault.

Sexual assault includes all crimes involving inappropriate sexual touching to rape, sodomy, and other sex-related crimes.

Most people fear the idea of a stranger-related sexual assault, although the reality is that the greatest risk comes from someone known to the victim.

Approximately 84% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. And nearly 90% of sexual assaults against children are committed by someone these young victims know.*

In Colorado, every city and county have lists of sex offenders living in the jurisdiction.  Citizens can obtain these lists by contacting their local law enforcement agency.

Many offenders, however, aren't even included in the registry. Those sexual offenders that were convicted prior to 1991 and those who have committed a sexual crime, but have not yet been detected or convicted, will not show on any registry.

"It's important for parents to understand that the registry doesn't include all sexual offenders. A huge danger to children is the 'undetected' offender, frequently a person that the family knows. Such offenders haven't been caught, convicted and registered," said Cynthia Stone, Media Coordinator of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

"Once convicted, the requirements for registration of sex offenders, combined with public access to that information, can begin the process of community awareness," said (retired chief) Ron Sloan of the Arvada Police Department. "Caution must be exercised upon over-reliance on sex offender registration to prevent future victimization."

Effective prevention of sexual assault includes education and tools provided to the entire community.

* These stats are from the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault