Dec 11, 12:26 PM EST

Survey looks at why some rape victims don't report


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Only about 20 percent of campus sexual assault victims go to police, according to a report released Thursday that provides insight into why so many victims choose to not seek criminal charges.

The Justice Department report found that about one in 10 said they don't think what happened to them is important enough to bring to the attention of police. Other reasons they didn't pursue charges include the views that it is a personal matter or that they don't think authorities would or could help. One in five said they fear reprisal.

A recent Rolling Stone article that described a gang rape alleged to have occurred at a University of Virginia fraternity brought renewed attention to the issue of campus sexual assault. The magazine later said it couldn't stand by its reporting. But even before the article's release, the Obama administration had taken steps to pressure colleges to better treat victims, and Congress has grappled with how best to get colleges and law enforcement to work together on these cases.

Rape happens more to young women between the ages of 18 and 24 than to any other age group, researchers said. Also, the report found that women not in school had higher rates of victimization than did peers in school. In both cases, about 80 percent of victims said they knew the offender.

But the issue isn't just one that affects women. Researchers found that about 17 percent of campus sexual assault victims were men.

Researchers from the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics used 1995 to 2013 figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey.

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