A brief report on rape myth acceptance: differences between police officers, law students, and psychology students in the United Kingdom

Emma Sleath, R. Bull

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A common perception is that police officers hold very negative attitudes about rape victims. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to establish whether police officers do accept stereotypical rape myths at a higher level compared to members of other populations. Three comparison samples comprised of police officers, law students, and psychology students, completed the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance scale (IRMA). Male and female police officers accepted ‘she lied’ myths at a higher level than the student samples. Student samples were found to accept two types of rape myths (‘she asked for it’ and ‘he didn’t meant to’) at a higher level compared to police officers. No significant differences were found in the other four sub-factors. Therefore, the pattern of results suggests that police officers do not adhere to stereotypical myths about rape victims more than do other populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-147
JournalViolence & Victims
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-13-00035.


  • police
  • rape myth acceptance
  • attitudes about rape
  • individual differences

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