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Sexual assaults in Greenland: characteristics of police reported rapes and attempted rapes

Sexual assaults in Greenland: characteristics of police reported rapes and attempted rapes

International Journal of Circumpolar Health 66(3): 257-263

The aim of the study was to describe characteristics of reported sexual assaults against adolescents and adults in Greenland society. A retrospective review of police files. Data about victims and alleged offenders were extracted from all available police files concerning reported rapes and attempted rapes in 2002 of persons 12 years and older in all of Greenland. In total, 173 rapes and attempted rapes were reported to the police. Comprehensive data about 82 cases were analysed and showed that the vast majority of assaults occurred in private homes and often in the presence of other people. The offender was closely connected to the victim in 92% of the cases. Both victim and offender were severely intoxicated by alcohol in half of the cases. The incidence of police-reported sexual assaults is high compared with the incidence in other Nordic countries and the pattern of assaults differs from that in many other countries. The studied rape cases were characterized by close relationships between victims and offenders and by both being influenced by alcohol. This is explained by the structure of Greenland society, by people living in small and closed communities and by a relatively high prevalence of binge drinking. Prevention of sexual assaults demands prevention of excessive alcohol abuse. Access to medical and psychosocial counselling and support for all victims of sexual assaults is recommended. Mediation may be considered as a judicial choice in view of the prevalence of close connections between offender and victim.

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Accession: 055747394

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PMID: 17655066

DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v66i3.18263

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