October 6, 2021 (Juneau, AK) – The Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) and the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Justice Center have completed the quinquennial Alaska Victimization Survey (AVS). The 2020 phone survey included 2,100 women in Alaska over the age of 18 who answered questions related to their experiences with physical and psychological intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual violence. Past iterations of this statewide survey were done in 2010 and 2015. A copy of the 2020 Alaska Victimization Survey and previous surveys are available at: Alaska Victimization Survey (AVS) | Justice Center | University of Alaska Anchorage.
The 2020 survey estimated that 57.7% of Alaska women had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), or both during their lifetime, a 14.7% increase from the 2015 survey. The number of women reporting experiencing IPV, SV, or both in the last year remained at 8.1%--the same rate reported in 2015.
“This survey helps give voice to the hundreds of victims of violence across our diverse state,” says Alaska CDVSA Executive Director L. Diane Casto. “With this data, policymakers are able to better align resources and to effect the areas most needed to end domestic and sexual violence in our state. We are indebted to the 2,100 women who invested time and relived these traumatic experiences by completing this survey to help all of us better understand the extent of intimate partner and sexual violence in Alaska.”
The survey also included new information on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which have been well established in existing research as being a strong predictor of later victimization experiences. Consistent with that existing research, when comparing past year experiences with IPV, SV or both between women who experienced each ACE or not in the 2020 AVS, women with ACEs were significantly more likely to have experienced past year violence than those without.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic being felt across the state in 2020, specific questions related to COVID-19 were also asked in the phone survey. The analyses showed that women who were negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the form of unemployment, underemployment or a negative financial impact were significantly more likely to have experienced past-year IPV, SV, or both than those who were not impacted in those ways by COVID-19.
“The 2020 Alaska Victimization Survey is important because it allows us to continue monitoring trends in experiences with interpersonal violence and sexual violence over time in Alaska, but also because it includes new items, such as those on Adverse Childhood Experiences, COVID-19, as well as on how victim-survivors seek help and make sense of their experiences. The AVS will allow us to dig deeper into these experiences to better shape policy and practice,” says UAA Justice Center Assistant Professor Ingrid D. Johnson, the Principal Investigator for the 2020 AVS.
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse, the following resources are available to you 24/7 and at no cost:
• For immediate response call 911
• Alaska 2-1-1 for assistance, referrals, and resources
• Alaska’s CARELINE at 877-266-4357
• National Domestic Violence Hotline
o Call 800-799-7233;
o Text LOVEIS to 22522; or
o Online chat at www.thehotline.org
• National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673)
• To report child abuse call 800-478-4444 or go to ReportChildAbuse@alaska.gov
• For a listing of local victim services 24/7 hotlines, go to: https://dps.alaska.gov/CDVSA/Services/VictimServices
PDF Version of Press Release