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Report Estimates Economic Impact Of Sexual Assault In Minnesota

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Sexual Assault In Minnesota

Sexual assault in Minnesota cost approximately $8 billion in 2005, according to the report on the estimated economic impact of rape and other forms of sexual assault.

According to the report, 61,000 Minnesota children and adults were sexually assaulted in 2005, some of them more than once, for a total of 77,000 assaults. Of the 61,000, 80 percent were female and 29 percent were under age 18. One in 70 Minnesota children was sexually assaulted, with the highest rate among girls aged 13-17.

"This is a major public health and safety concern, not only because of the financial costs, but for the devastating effects these assaults have on the victims and their families," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach. "To put these numbers in perspective, the number of people assaulted in 2005 would almost fill the Metrodome."

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Cost per sexual assault was estimated at $184,000 for children and $139,000 for adults. Costs included medical and mental health care for victims, lost work and other quality-of-life issues, victim services, and criminal justice costs. Victims also can have costs related to sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, suicide and substance abuse.

Because data were not available, the report did not include costs of sexual harassment, pornography, voyeurism, or other forms of sexual violence. Also excluded were some indirect costs such as family and relationship problems that arise when someone is a victim or perpetrator, re-victimization during the criminal justice process, and cost of personal and community security.

In 2005, Minnesota state government spent about $130 million on treatment and confinement of perpetrators of sexual violence and about $90 million on medical costs and other services for victims. Some federal funds ($823,000) come to Minnesota each year for programs aimed at preventing sexual violence.

MDH, together with other concerned individuals and agencies, is developing a unified state plan for the primary prevention of sexual violence. Areas of focus in the plan will likely include: