- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Half of women in Alaska say an intimate partner has abused them, sexually assaulted them or both at some point in their lives, a grim statistic that is actually a decrease from five years ago, according to a new study.

The study from the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center says 50 percent of women reported last year that they have been threatened with physical violence, experienced that violence or been sexually assaulted by a partner.

That is a decline from nearly 57 percent during a similar study in 2010, KTUU-TV reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1UAVwNg ).

“That drop is pretty substantial, more so than many people expected,” said Andre Rosay, director of the center.

But Alaska still has one of the nation’s highest rates of violence against women, he said.

The report indicated that intimate partner violence declined by 32 percent and sexual violence dropped by 33 percent from five years earlier.

The influence of prevention programs and public awareness campaigns could have helped lead to the decrease, said Lauree Morton, executive director of Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. But more work needs to be done, she said.

“It’s still a huge problem,” Morton said. “It’s not acceptable that there are 50 out of 100 women suffering these crimes.”

The statewide study, which was conducted for the council, had more than 3,000 participants. Women were randomly selected by phone from May to August 2015.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

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