Department of Justice Announces Revisions to UCR Definition of Rape

U.S. Attorney Eric Holder recently announced revisions to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) to better reflect state criminal codes and the reality of victim experiences. Police departments submit data on reported crimes and arrests to the UCR. The revised definition of rape includes any gender of victim or perpetrator, and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. With this redefinition, it is expected that the national crime statistics will better reflect the true incidence of reported rape in the United States.

When speaking about the change, David Cuthbertson, FBI Assistant Director, CJIS Division, said, “This change will give law enforcement the ability to report more complete rape offense data, as the new definition reflects the vast majority of state rape statutes.” The goal of the updated definition is to more accurately demonstrate the totality of the response and investigative work done by law enforcement across the country.

The IACP has long advocated for this change. In early 2011, the IACP met with Vice President Biden’s Office to discuss modernizing the UCR definition of forcible rape. In collaboration with law enforcement partners, the IACP drafted language to capture the reality of this crime. In October of last year, the IACP Executive Committee met with Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Director Judge Susan Carbon to highlight the proposed language, address law enforcement concerns and ensure the support of OVW.

To read the full release from the Department of Justice, please click HERE. To learn more about the UCR, please click HERE. To read more about IACP’s violence against women initiatives, please click HERE.