Characteristics associated with rape attrition and the role played by scepticism or legal rationality by investigators and prosecutors

Authors: Brown, Jennifer M.1; Hamilton, Carys2; O'Neill, Darragh1

Source: Psychology, Crime and Law, Volume 13, Number 4, June 2007 , pp. 355-370(16)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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This paper reports a multidimensional scaling analysis of features associated with rape attrition by identifying key aspects of the rape that are associated with loss of cases at the stages of police investigation, prosecutors' considerations and in court. The research utilized a case-file analysis (n=105) consisting of all rapes reported to one division within a large UK urban police force by females over the age of 16 from April 1998 to April 2003. In addition, interviews were conducted with police officers and Crown Prosecutors to explore their understanding of the reasons why attrition occurs. The findings illustrate the extent to which prejudicial attitudes and legal logic influence police officers' and solicitors' modes of thinking and subsequently influence decisions for rape cases to proceed to court. Methodological and practical issues are considered.

Keywords: Rape; criminal justice system; police investigation; rape attrition; rape victim

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK 2: Surrey Police, Police HQ, Guildford, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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