Violence against women has remained at declined rate in recent years

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department says the rate of sexual violence against women and girls age 12 or older fell 64 percent in a decade and has remained stable for five years.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey concludes that in 2010, women and girls nationwide experienced about 270,000 rapes or sexual assaults, compared with 556,000 in 1995.

Rates declined from a peak of 5 per 1,000 females in 1995 to 1.8 per 1,000 females in 2005. The figure remained unchanged from 2005 to 2010.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, has been working for decades to curb violence against women. She says the new study is proof that the newly reauthorized Violence Against Act and awareness of the problem by police is having a positive impact.