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Sexual Assault in Delaware
Among Adults, 2015

Almost 15 percent (more than 1 in 10) of adult women in Delaware report having been forced into non-consensual sex at some point during their lives.

Graph showing percent of women in Delaware who report sexual assault during their lifetimes.

This prevalence of self-reported sexual assault is up from about 12 percent reported a decade ago.  However, this is not a statistically significant difference.  The only previous time the Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) asked questions about non-consensual sex was in 2005.  The BRFS question (above) refers to sex without consent, which is broader than the "forcible rape" category reported by police agencies.

Nearly 15 percent (14.9) of women between 18 and 65 years of age — or more than 38,000 women — reported being forced to have sex without their consent at some point in their lives.  There was little or no difference in prevalence by age group in the 2015 survey for lifetime sexual assault.

The survey also asked if this sexual assault had occurred in the past year.  Less than one percent (0.6 percent) of adult Delaware women reported sexual assault in the past year.  This means that about 1,075 adult women in Delaware were sexually assaulted in the year prior to their survey responses.

According to the most recent Uniform Crime Report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were 341 forcible rapes in Delaware in 2015.  The BRFS data indicate that the self-reported prevalence is about three times the number of rapes reported by police in the state.

Other results from the survey include:

  • 4.6 percent of adult Delaware men reported that they had at some time been forced to have sex without their consent.
  • There were no statistically significant differences among women by age, education, income, or racial/ethnic group.

The Division of Public Health also surveys public high school students through the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in odd-numbered years. The 2015 YRBS included questions about sexual assault, and the survey data show:

  • 8.6 percent of Delaware public high school female students reported “ever being physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.” This compares to 4.4% of male H.S. students.
  • 9.8 percent of public high school females reported “experiencing physical dating violence one or more times during the year before the survey,” compared to 7.2% of male H.S. students.


ContactLifeline Delaware operates a crisis hotline (800-262-9800) and provides sexual assault counseling.  Trained staff and volunteers staff the crisis line 24 hours a day.