Durham University study challenges 'real rape' stereotype of older people

Credit: PA

Durham University has found sexual assault and rape of older people, usually women, is largely committed by those younger than the victim.

The study, published in the British Journal of Criminology, challenges the suggestion that older people do not experience sexual violence

It investigated the extent of serious sexual offences reported to the police in people over the age of 60, obtained from 45 out of 46 UK police forces via a Freedom of Information request.

The results showed that 80 per cent of victims over the age of 60 were in their 60s and 70s, whereas the vast majority (66 per cent) of their offenders were under 60.

Women over 60 were most likely to be raped by an acquaintance, a partner or husband, or someone else known to them, according to the data.

Co-author Hannah Bows, a PhD student in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, said that these findings challenged the ‘real rape’ stereotype in the public and media.