Police perceptions of rape victims and the impact on case decision making: A systematic review

Emma Sleath, Ray Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Police officers are frequently perceived to hold negative attitudes about rape victims. The aim of this systematic review is to: (1) synthesise the current literature on police officers' attributions of rape victim blame, assessments of rape victim credibility, and rape myth acceptance; and, (2) examine the evidence that holding these attitudes impacts on police investigative decision making in rape cases. Twenty-four articles published between 2000 and 2016 were included following a systematic search of the available literature. The findings highlight that some police officers do hold problematic attitudes about rape victims e.g., blame, rape myth acceptance, although they are frequently noted to be at a low level. Furthermore, characteristics of the victim, e.g., alcohol intoxication and emotional expression, can affect attributions of victim credibility. Assessments of victim credibility were related to police investigative decision making e.g., recommendations to charge the perpetrator, perceptions of guilt. However, the impact of rape victim blaming and rape myth acceptance is less clear. Given that the literature was predominantly vignette-based, it is unclear how these judgements have an impact in real rape investigations.

Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Aggression and Violent Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, [34, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2017.02.003

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume34
Early online date24 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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Rape
Police
Decision Making
Aggression
Publications
Alcoholic Intoxication
Peer Review
Guilt
Licensure
Quality Control

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Aggression and Violent Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, [34, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2017.02.003

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

  • Police
  • Rape myth acceptance
  • Attitudes about rape
  • Blame
  • Credibility

Cite this

Police perceptions of rape victims and the impact on case decision making: A systematic review. / Sleath, Emma; Bull, Ray.

In: Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 34, 05.2017, p. 102-112.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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