The influence of ‘High’ vs. ‘Low’ rape myth acceptance on police officers’ judgements of victim and perpetrator responsibility, and rape authenticity

Benjamin Hine*, Anthony Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
113 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: Previous studies suggest that officers’ level of rape myth acceptance (RMA) is predictive of their case decision making and judgements towards victim-survivors. However, few studies have directly assessed the relationship between RMA and responsibility and authenticity judgments. Methods: 808 UK police officers categorised as ‘high’ or ‘low’ in rape myth acceptance made judgements of victim and perpetrator responsibility, and case authenticity, towards one of 16 vignettes depicting a hypothetical rape scenario varying on victim-perpetrator relationship, victim reputation, and initial point of resistance. Results: Officers categorised as ‘high’ in RMA rated victims as more responsible, perpetrators as less responsible, and cases as less authentic than those deemed to be ‘low’ in RMA. When rape-myth related factors were present, both individually and in combination, judgements by officers ‘high’ in RMA were more negative than those ‘low’ in RMA. Conclusions: Results suggest that officers ‘high’ in RMA may judge victims of rape differently to those ‘low’ in RMA, particularly when rape myth-related extra-legal case factors are present. The potential implications for training and selection are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Volume60
Early online date13 Sept 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Judgments
  • Objective policing
  • Police officers
  • Rape
  • Rape myths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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