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Hillsborough Sheriff's Office analysis shows that most sexual assault victims know the suspects

TAMPA — It isn't news to those involved in the fight against sexual assault that most victims know their attackers.

Nationally, 75 percent of victims report knowing their suspects.

But a new analysis by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office of rape and sex abuse cases reported in 2008 drives home the fact in even starker numbers.

Last year, out of the 125 reported cases of juvenile-on-juvenile sex abuse, 99 percent of victims said their suspect was known to them — usually a family member, sibling or foster sibling or acquaintance.

Similarly, out of the 234 juveniles who identified adults as their attackers, only four said the suspect was a stranger. Most told deputies they had been abused by a family member — 24 percent by a parent, stepparent or sibling, and 23 percent by another relative.

Among adult victims who name adult suspects, 75 percent said they knew their attacker. The figure is slightly lower than the rate among juveniles. But among the 28 stranger rape cases, half the victims said they'd just met the suspect prior to the attack.

Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said the agency conducted the analysis after noticing an uptick in sex crimes. Now it is hoping to get out the word to the public about how better to protect themselves and their children.

Here are numbers to call for help if you or someone you know is being abused:

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-422-4453; Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, 2-1-1; Florida Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873.

Hillsborough Sheriff's Office analysis shows that most sexual assault victims know the suspects 06/03/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 11:07pm]
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