Firearm-Facilitated Sexual Assault: Using Emergency Department Data to Provide a Novel Perspective of the Problem

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Firearm-Facilitated Sexual Assault: Using Emergency Department Data to Provide a Novel Perspective of the Problem

Category: Crime|Journal: Violence and Gender (full text)|Author: D Corry, H Schwimmer, J Rupp, L Hudak|Year: 2019

Firearm-related injury is a significant public health problem within the United States. Efforts to reduce the burden of firearm injury and violence are limited in large part by a lack of robust data, providing an incomplete representation of its magnitude within the United States. Preliminary linkages between criminal justice, public health, and health care data sets suggest that there is widespread undercounting of firearm injury, especially nonfatal firearm injuries, such as those co-occurring with sexual assault. Emergency departments provide a unique opportunity to study this phenomenon. Patients injured with firearms, victims of sexual violence, and surveillance systems converge in this setting to allow for a baseline understanding of the problem. Using data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1993 to 2015 to review firearm-injured persons, the investigators were able to reveal cases where firearms were used to coerce or facilitate sexual assault. Patient demographics, injuries sustained, and hospital disposition status were explored to reveal trends within a nationally representative health care-based sample. Insights gained through this process could improve surveillance strategies and intervention approaches for injury prevention practitioners and researchers in the future.

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