Study Finds One Quarter of Women Drug Offenders Are Victims of Sexual Misconduct by Police

Dr. Linda Cottler, chair Epidemiology, PHHP and COMA study led by Linda B. Cottler, professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida, finds that one quarter of the women charged by police with drug offenses reported that they were victims of sexual misconduct by law enforcement officers. The study surveyed women who were arrested on drug charges in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Dr. Cottler conducted the research while she served on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.

Some 96 percent of the women who said they were victims of sexual misconduct reported having sex with law enforcement officers who were on duty. Nearly a quarter said they had sex with an officer while another officer was present.

Dr. Cottler stated, “This study is a call to action for law enforcement, and we need the law enforcement community to understand the vulnerability of women trying to change their high-risk behavior.”

Dr. Cottler has been on the faculty at the University of Florida since 2011. She is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston. Professor Cottler earned a master of public health degree at Boston University and a Ph.D. from Washington University.

The article, “Breaking the Blue Wall of Silence: Risk Factors for Experiencing Police Sexual Misconduct Among Female Offenders,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Public Health. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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