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Social Disorganization and Unfounded Sexual Assault Case Clearances

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Despite much research and policy development, it remains true that less than one half of all reported sexual assaults are cleared by arrest (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], 2011). Compounding this issue, many sexual assaults are not cleared by an arrest, but rather by being classified as "unfounded" by law enforcement (Soulliere, 1994, 2005; Tellis & Spohn, 2008). Grounded in the social disorganization perspective, this article examines the relationships between case-related and extralegal community-level characteristics and use of the designation of unfounded by the police. Contrary to initial expectations, findings show that communities with higher levels of concentrated disadvantage, immigrant concentration, and residential instability are less likely to have sexual assaults deemed unfounded by law enforcement.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-02-01

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  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2014 Impact Factor is 0.858.
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