Judging Maggie's rape: a study exploring the impact of victim-perpetrator relationship, victim reputation and initial point of resistance on police officers' judgements of victim blame, perpetrator blame, and the legitimacy of the claim

Hine, Benjamin A. and Murphy, Anthony (2016) Judging Maggie's rape: a study exploring the impact of victim-perpetrator relationship, victim reputation and initial point of resistance on police officers' judgements of victim blame, perpetrator blame, and the legitimacy of the claim. In: Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference, 14-16 June 2016, Brighton, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Objective(s): To examine the variation in police officers’ initial judgements of responsibility and authenticity when presented with hypothetical rape cases varying on victim reputation, initial point of resistance, and victim-perpetrator relationship.
Design: Vignette Study. The independent variables were victim reputation (Good vs. Bad), initial point of resistance (Early vs. Late) and victim-perpetrator relationship (Stranger, Acquaintance, Partner, or Ex-Partner). The Dependent variables were officers’ judgements of victim and perpetrator responsibility, as well as rape authenticity.
Methods: Participants were 808 Metropolitan Police Service officers. This sample was representative of this force on a number of demographic factors. Officers completed an online questionnaire battery* which included 1 of the 16 vignette variations. Officers were asked to provide ratings, on a scale of 0 (Not at all) to 100 (Completely), for victim and perpetrator responsibility, and to what extent they considered the scenario to constitute rape.
Results: Results showed that officers’ judgements varied significantly between vignettes, broadly showing higher female blame, lower male blame, and lower rape ratings for scenarios where the victim resisted late, had a bad reputation, and a partner was the perpetrator. Interactions between these factors were also found.
Conclusions: Results suggest that, as certain factors vary between cases, officers allocate different levels of responsibility to the victim and the perpetrator, as well as drawing conclusions regarding the validity of the crime itself. This may impact on police officers’ objectivity when investigating cases of rape, however further research is needed in this regard.
*Including questionnaires analysed separately

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Subjects: Law and criminal justice > Criminal justice
Psychology
Social sciences
Depositing User: Ben Hine
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 15:18
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 12:05
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2684

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