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A procedural justice theory approach to police engagement with victim-survivors of rape and sexual assault: Initial findings of the “Project Bluestone” pilot study

Hohl, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-3992-019X, Johnson, K. & Molisso, S. (2022). A procedural justice theory approach to police engagement with victim-survivors of rape and sexual assault: Initial findings of the “Project Bluestone” pilot study. International Criminology, 2(3), pp. 253-261. doi: 10.1007/s43576-022-00056-z


In England and Wales, public trust in the police has been damaged by a series of police failings in rape and sexual assault investigations, officer sexual offending and a police culture of misogyny. Feminist scholars have analysed why police investigations of rape and sexual assault cases rarely result in a charge,and documented the poor experiences many victim-survivors have of the police process. In this article, we outline how this scholarship may be integrated into procedural justice theory to advance our understanding of the impact of how officers engage with victim-survivors on their feelings of the status and value as survivors of sexual violence within the nation and society police represent, as well as on their trust in the police, and willingness to (continue) engaging with police, or report future victimisation. We present tentative evidence from the pilot study (“Project Bluestone”) in one English police force that suggests a feminist scholarship informed Procedural Justice framework is a promising tool for assessing and improving police practice in engaging with victim survivors of rape and sexual assault. The article concludes with directions for future research.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: procedural justice theory; sexual violence; victims; policing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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