Factors associated with suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault

Du Mont, Janice; Macdonald, Sheila; Rotbard, Nomi; Asllani, Eriola; Bainbridge, Deidre; Cohen, Marsha M.
March 2009
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;3/3/2009, Vol. 180 Issue 5, p513
Academic Journal
Background: There has been little systematic investigation of widespread reports of drugging and sexual assault. We sought to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault. Methods: Between June 2005 and March 2007, a total of 977 consecutive sexual assault victims underwent screening for suspected drugging at 7 hospital-based sexual assault treatment centres. We defined victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault as those who presented to a centre within about 72 hours of being assaulted and who provided at least 1 valid reason for suspecting that she or he had been drugged and sexually assaulted. We used logistic regression modelling to compare victims of suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault with other sexual assault victims, controlling for covariates. Results: In total, 882 victims were eligible for inclusion in the study. Of these, 855 (96.9%) were women, and 184 (20.9%) met the criteria for suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault. Compared with other victims, victims of drugfacilitated sexual assault were more likely to have presented to a large urban centre for care (odds ratio [OR] 2.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.47-3.65), to be employed (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.34-2.76), to have consumed over-the-counter medications (OR 3.97, 95% CI 2.47-6.38) and street drugs (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.12-2.62) in the 72 hours before being examined and to have used alcohol before the assault (OR 4.00, 95% CI 2.53-6.32). Interpretation: Suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault is a common problem. Sexual assault services should be tailored to meet the needs of those experiencing this type of victimization.


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