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Complaints of rape and the criminal justice system: Fresh evidence on the attrition problem in England and Wales

Hohl, K. and Stanko, E. (2015). Complaints of rape and the criminal justice system: Fresh evidence on the attrition problem in England and Wales. European Journal of Criminology, 12(3), pp. 324-341. doi: 10.1177/1477370815571949

Abstract

The UK has one of the lowest conviction rates for rape in Europe. This article presents unique evidence on the factors that influence the attrition of rape allegations in the English criminal justice system. The study is based on a large, representative sample of rape allegations reported to the London Metropolitan Police, the UK’s biggest police force. The dataset contains unprecedented detail on the incident, victim, suspect and police investigation. The results lend support to the influence of some rape myths and stereotypes on attrition. These findings suggest that further central factors include the ethnicity of the suspect as well as what police officers and prosecutors perceive as evidence against the truthfulness of the allegation: the police record noting a previous false allegation by the victim, inconsistencies in the victim’s account of the alleged rape, and evidence or police opinion casting doubt on the allegation.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: rape; attrition; policing; criminal justice
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/5923
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