Emergency Department Visits Have Increased Drastically for Sexual Assault Survivors in the Last Decade

The number of sexual assault survivors who sought emergency medical care following the assault has increased 1,533% in the last decade, according to a new study published in Jama Network Open.

This study found that sexual assault-related emergency department visits increased dramatically from 3,607 in 2006 to 55,296 in 2019, with the largest increase taking place from 2015-2016. Admission rates for these visits declined from 12.6% to 4.3%. The study found that these medical visits surpassed reports made to law enforcement.

Female, younger, and lower-income individuals were more likely present at emergency departments after experiencing sexual assault. In addition, patients with Medicare are overrepresented and lower-income survivor patients were more likely to be admitted.

Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, told NBC News that the results are "really encouraging… There’s been a huge incremental change in awareness over the last couple decades, which I think #MeToo really accelerated," he said.

"We’ve moved a long way, thankfully, in the acknowledgement that any time there’s non-consensual sexual activity, that is sexual assault," study co-author Erica Marsh, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical Schoo, told NBC.

To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

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