The role of drugs and alcohol in rape

Med Sci Law. 2006 Jul;46(3):219-28. doi: 10.1258/rsmmsl.46.3.219.


Alcohol and drugs have been inextricably linked with sexual assault. Media coverage has increasingly highlighted the health risks facing intoxicated women and more recently identified the risk of rape as an additional hazard. Using a sample of rape cases reported to the police between 1999 and 2004, this paper establishes that rapes involving intoxicants (alcohol and/or drugs) are distinguishable from those which do not. Further analysis discovered that the identity of the intoxicated parties (i.e. men, women, neither or both) is important in differentiating rapes. Results report differences by location of assault, victim offender relationship, victim and offender characteristics and offence behaviours. A consistent finding from the analysis is that the victim's state of sobriety or inebriation appears more significant than that of the offender. The implications for crime prevention and directions for future research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Crime Victims
  • England
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Rape*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*