Effective January 2013, Includes All Victims and Omits Requirement of Physical Force

In December 2011, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, approved revisions to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s 80-year-old definition of rape. As approved, the UCR Program’s definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

In other words, the definition no longer includes just female victims. The victim can also be male.

The UCR Program collects data about sex offenses through two reporting systems: the traditional Summary Reporting System (SRS) and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Currently, the rape definition change applies only to the SRS since the NIBRS already captures the broader sex offense information reflected in the new definition. However, the APB’s recommendation to remove the term “forcible” from all sex offenses in the UCR Program applies to both systems.

“This new, more inclusive definition will provide us with a more accurate understanding of the scope and volume of these crimes,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. Proponents of the new definition state the changes will broaden the scope of the previously narrow SRS definition by capturing gender neutrality, the penetration of any bodily orifice, penetration by any object or body part, and offenses in which physical force is not involved. Now instances in which offenders sodomize victims of the same gender will be counted as rape for statistical purposes.

Once the FBI begins collecting data using the new definition of rape in January 2013, UCR Program officials expect that the number of reported rapes will rise. According to David Cuthbertson, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, “As we implement this change, the FBI is confident that the number of victims of this heinous crime will be more accurately reflected in national crime statistics.”

In the months to come, the UCR Program will advise participating law enforcement agencies of the programming changes necessary to capture the more comprehensive rape data. Although the UCR definition of rape may differ from definitions in state and local laws, the FBI expects law enforcement agencies to use it when reporting data to the UCR Program. Those totals will then be published in the annual UCR publication Crime in the United States and maintained in the national UCR database.

NOTE: It is important to check with your RMS vendor to ensure that it records and reports the crime of rape correctly under this new definition.  If your system requires the victim gender to be female, this will require a programming change which by the way you shouldn’t have to pay for!  If you run into any trouble let us know; we’re glad to help.

If your state has a UCR program, be sure to check with them about when and how this change will be implemented.  If you report directly to the FBI contact (304) 625-4830.

PRI Management Group