UTAH (ABC4) – Utah’s rate of violent crime rate is notably lower than the national average, except in one category — rape. 

Utah is one of the top ten states with the highest number of rapes per capita. This is just one of the many findings from the Utah State University’s Utah Women and Leadership Project. 

The research is based on data collected on 7,455 sexual assault cases dating as far back as 2010.

Dr. Leslie Miles said her main focus is on mental health, reporting nearly half of all sexual assault victims had a mental health illness, suggesting perpetrators may target people who are struggling with mental health. 

Miles says this multifaceted study covers several areas, but the ultimate goal is to create more awareness, education and support. 

“What’s available, what’s happening in our community, what can you expect, and that there are people out there,” says Miles. “They’re great providers out there that can provide care, trauma care.”

Mile said knowing where to find resources is critical. The study found only about a third of victims in Utah seek counseling.