The definition of rape that dictates how local police departments report crimes to federal record keepers is expected to change — for the first time in more than 80 years — in early 2012, says the Baltimore Sun. The final step of changing the Uniform Crime Report definition of rape was acknowledged Wednesday, when FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee he approved expanding a definition that critics say was too narrow.
“[I]t was in some ways unworkable, certainly not [ ] fully applicable to the types of crime that it should cover,” Mueller said in response to a question from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., about why it was important to update the rape definition. “I approved a change to that definition, and my expectation is it will go into effect some time this spring.” “Revising the definition of rape would result in a higher and more accurate number of rapes that are reported nationwide each year,” said Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Women’s advocates accelerated a push for an updated definition, prompted partly by reporting by the Sun showing how city police had misclassified rapes and sexual assaults for years. Critics say that the current definition is too narrow and leaves crimes uncounted in police statistics, resulting in fewer resources for victims and law enforcement.