Factors Associated With Law Enforcement Reporting in Patients Presenting for Medical Forensic Examinations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Law enforcement reporting following sexual assault is lower than for other violent crimes. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) provide care for patients in the acute period following sexual assault and are well-positioned to identify and address barriers to reporting. We examined data from medical forensic examination records documented by SANEs for a 5-year period (2011-2015). We examined 347 records of women 18 and older to identify factors associated with law enforcement reporting at the time of the exam using binomial logistic regression to construct odds ratios (OR). A total of 56.5% of patients in the sample reported to law enforcement. Patients who did not voluntarily consume alcohol were more likely to report than those who did (OR = 4.45; p = .001). Patients who were not students were more likely to report than students (OR = 3.24; p = .002). Patients who had a medical forensic exam within 32 hr of the assault were more likely to report than those having exams after 32 hr (OR = 2.68; p = .007). Patients who had anogenital and/or bodily injuries were more likely to report than those who had no injuries (OR = 2.50; p = .008). Patients who were penetrated (vaginally, orally, and/or anally) were more likely to report than those who were not penetrated (OR = 2.50; p = .056). Knowing the assailant, having multiple assailants, and patient and assailant race/ethnicity were not associated with different likelihood of reporting to law enforcement. SANEs and others who work with victims of sexual assault can use data to understand and address barriers to reporting.

published proceedings

  • J Interpers Violence

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Downing, N. R., Adams, M., & Bogue, R. J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Downing, Nancy R||Adams, Mollie||Bogue, Richard J

publication date

  • March 2022