Prospective lawyers' rape stereotypes and schematic decision making about rape cases

Krahé, B., Temkin, J., Bieneck, S. & Berger, A. (2008). Prospective lawyers' rape stereotypes and schematic decision making about rape cases. Psychology, Crime and Law, 14(5), pp. 461-479. doi: 10.1080/10683160801932380

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Abstract

Two studies explored stereotypic information processing in rape cases by prospective lawyers in Germany. In Study 1, 451 undergraduate law students rated rape scenarios varying with respect to defendant–complainant relationship and coercive strategy (force versus exploitation of the complainant's alcohol-induced defencelessness). Acceptance of rape myths was also measured. Likelihood of defendant liability was rated to be lower when there was a prior relationship between the parties and when the defendant exploited the complainant's defencelessness as compared to when he used force (except in the ex-partner rapes where blame was higher in the alcohol-related than in the force-related cases). Complainant blame was higher when there was a prior relationship between the parties and was higher in the alcohol-related cases than in the force-related cases, except in the ex-partner rape where the pattern was reversed. Participants with high rape myth acceptance held the defendant less liable and blamed the complainant more, especially when the two had known each other. Study 2 largely replicated these findings with 129 postgraduate trainee lawyers and showed that sentencing recommendations also varied as a function of defendant–complainant relationship and coercive strategy. Providing participants with the legal definition of rape did not reduce reliance on rape stereotypes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rape, rape attitudes, rape myths, judicial decision making, blame attribution
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: The City Law School > The City Law School - Professional Programmes
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2542

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