Survey on Sexual Assault in State Presented at Conference
June 20, 2007
Three UNH professors presented the findings of a 2006 statewide survey
on sexual assault in New Hampshire at the 13th Statewide Conference on
Domestic and Sexual Violence and Stalking on June 7.
Sharyn J. Potter, associate professor of sociology, David J. Laflamme,
research assistant professor, department of health management and policy
and the Maternal and Child Health epidemiologist for the New Hampshire
Department of Health and Human Services, and Mary M. Moynihan, research
associate professor in the women’s studies program, led the workshop “Sexual
Assault and Intimate Partner Violence in New Hampshire: Findings and Implications
from a Survey of New Hampshire Women.”
The conference was sponsored by the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission
on Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Attorney General’s Office
and was attended by domestic and sexual violence and stalking crisis center
directors and service providers, judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and police
officers from around the state.
The report on which the presentation was based is the New Hampshire Violence
Against Women Survey 2007 co-authored by Potter, Laflamme, Moynihan, Grace
Mattern, Victoria L. Banyard, Jane G. Stapleton and Lisa Bujno.
The study draws attention to the problem of sexual violence in the Granite
state. The random telephone survey is a first-of-its-kind for the state
and is the result of collaboration by the New Hampshire Coalition Against
Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV), the Department of Health and Human
Services and faculty researchers at UNH. The project was primarily funded
through a grant from the UNH Office of the Vice-President of Research and
Outreach Scholarship, intended to promote collaboration both within the
university (ie: between departments) and with external community partners.
The study represents an effort to apply recommendations from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Healthy People 2010” and “CDC
Injury Research Agenda” highlighting the problem of sexual violence
for the nation’s health. Little has been known about the problem
in New Hampshire.
In addition, the new survey overcomes the criticism of a 2003 report
estimating that, in their lifetime, one in seven women in New Hampshire
had experienced the most severe form of sexual assault. That report was
widely distributed and criticized because the researchers who conducted
it estimated prevalence rates from national data and then applied them
to the state rather than directly surveying New Hampshire women.
The current survey examined the prevalence of sexual and physical violence
among women ages 18 and older and showed sexual violence in the state
is higher than previously estimated with 23 percent of women surveyed
reporting to have been sexually assaulted and 50 percent reporting being
Additional results presented during the workshop included New Hampshire
residents’ level of knowledge regarding the problem and the availability
of services for female victims of sexual violence. Presenters proposed
the crucial information learned from the study be applied to design more
effective state prevention, intervention, and policy efforts to address
Workshop participants discussed the study’s practical and policy
implications. Many agreed the report will be influential in informing
services, policy and legislation. They noted the information will be
useful for convincing policy makers about the extent of sexual assault
in the state and the importance of having statistics collected from residents,
and that the numbers will be helpful for fundraising purposes. Some participants
said the survey provided an avenue to get invitations to speak in the
local schools and police departments for those working at the grassroots
level to prevent sexual and domestic violence.
cite for the study:
• Potter SJ, Laflamme D, Mattern G, Banyard VL, Moynihan MM, Stapleton
JG, Bujno L. New Hampshire Violence Against Women Survey. 2007.