How to report rape or sexual assault
The officers will likely ask why the victims waited to report. Common factors are:
Ways to get a better conviction rate:
You have the right to ask for information about
"One of the basic rights of crime victims granted under victim-orientated legislation introduced during the last 20 years in more than 100 countries worldwide is the right to be referred to victim support by the police." (Winkel et. al., 2004)
USA Information on reporting
Reporting an assault from better health
International resources on reporting
UK Information on reporting
Victim advocacy in Canada - MAKING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM MORE RESPONSIVE TO VICTIMS
Sexual assault: Guide to the criminal justice system in Canada. Women's International Network News, Winter95, 21(1), p41, 1/3p
WOMEN AND VIOLENCE BY: KATHLEEN GALLIVAN AND SUSAN BAZILLI; METRO ACTION COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (METRAC) 158 Spadina Rd., Toronto, Ontario M5R 2T8 CANADA CONTENTS:
"This guide provides information about each step of the criminal process, from the option of reporting a sexual assault to the police, through sentencing, to appeals of a trial verdict. This guide does not pretend to advise women about whether they should report sexual assault or enter the system. What if does hope to do is provide some idea of the hazards and hurdles that will be experienced at each and every step . . ."
Davies, Graham; Lloyd-Bostock,
Sally; McMurran, Mary; Wilson, Clare; Oxford, England: Walter De Gruyter,
(1995). The criminal justice response to sexual assault in Canada. Roberts,
Julian V. In: Psychology, law, and criminal justice: International developments
in research and practice. pp. 384-393. [Original Chapter] link
The encyclopedia of violence : origins, attitudes, consequences
DiCanio, Margaret. (1993). The encyclopedia of violence : origins, attitudes, consequences. New York : Facts on File
HM291 .D4857 1993 Davis Ref, UL Ref, HSL books
Rape p. 211
This entry covers the definition of rape, statistics on rape, the history of rape and the fact that less than 10% of rapes are reported. It states that "psychological trauma and humiliation overwhelm many victims... trying, alone, to regain their sense of personal integrity that was destroyed by the intrusion of rape." p. 211
Interestingly it states that in 1960 law enforcement cited false reporting at 20%. By 1973 the statistics had dropped to 15%. After 1973 the New York city police department used female officers to investigate sexual assault cases and the rate dropped to 2% according to the FBI.
"45% of injured female victims of a reported attempted rape compared to 22% of injured victims of an unreported attempted rape received medical treatment, 1992-2000"
In 1960 law enforcement cited false reporting at 20%. By 1973 the statistics had dropped to 15%. After 1973 the New York city police department used female officers to investigate sexual assault cases and the rate dropped to 2% according to the FBI.
DiCanio, Margaret. (1993). The encyclopedia of violence : origins, attitudes, consequences. New York : Facts on File
Ways to improve conviction rates
Research on improving the reporting procedure
Barriers to reporting
"Nine themes describing the existence of barriers to reporting.
(1) difficulties encountered when reporting;
(2) doubts by providers about the validity of the accusation;
(3) lack of services, inadequate number of hours, too few providers;
(4) community and family reluctance to acknowledge the problem of sexual assault;
(5) fear of the perpetrator, the examination and of public exposure;
(6) acquaintance with the perpetrator;
(7) impaired cognitive ability and
(8) feelings of vulnerability, guilt, humiliation and the desire for secrecy.
(9) An unexpected and disconcerting finding was the admitted reluctance of service providers to provide service for victims of sexual assault." (Young, 2002) link to article
"Findings indicate that barriers prevalent 30 years ago, prior to efforts by the rape reform movement, continue to be considered important among college men and women. The barriers rated as the most important were (1) shame, guilt, embarrassment, not wanting friends and family to know; (2) concerns about confidentiality; and (3) fear of not being believed. Both genders perceived a fear of being judged as gay as an important barrier for male victims of sexual assault or rape and fear of retaliation by the perpetrator to be an important barrier for female victims." (Sable & Danis, 2006)
"Of 500 questionnaires distributed to women undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members at a university, 167 (33%) were returned. Analysis of these revealed that only 18% of the adult women's rapes and only 11% of the assaults on children were reported. For adult women, the primary reason for not reporting seemed to combine a type of guilt with embarrassment. The implication is that although external social factors have changed, the internal psychological barriers to rape reporting may remain." (Binder, 1981)
"125 adult victims receiving care at 19 sexual assault centers (SACs) in the State of Maryland. More than one half of the victims (55.6%) waited years before disclosing, with delays in reporting especially likely if the assault was perpetrated by a family member (the most frequent perpetrators at 42.4% of respondents). About one half of the victims (51.3%) had been previously sexually assaulted, yet only 9% of these victims had sought treatment. The majority of respondents (69.4%) indicated they would not be filing charges against perpetrators, and of those who did, 46.2% reported dissatisfaction with the interview with police. Psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety were the most common reasons for seeking care at the centers. Nearly all of respondents rated the care they received at the centers as very good or excellent. Respondents recommended more SACs, better advertising of their services, more mental health care within them (especially group therapy), and improved laws and law enforcement of perpetrators." (Monroe, 2005)
can be reduced by offering victims more legal and psychological counseling
during the criminal proceedings. Legal counseling
"The under-utilization of psychological services by crime victims who are objectively in need of external support is substantial. Current legal procedures tend to perpetuate this unwanted condition. Programs aimed at the early detection and prevention of persistent postvictimization distress are more in line with the ideals of therapeutic jurisprudence. The RISK (10) screening instrument, which was specifically developed to be administered by police officers, may provide a basis for early detection. RISK (10) consists of a selection of 10 Risk factors with prior empirical evidence and theoretical significance. " (Winkel, 2004)
In google: Reporting a sexual assault
These searches worked best using a multi-search of several databases on general, sociological, current events (news) and psychological subjects:
DE "Crime Victims" and reporting
DE "Crime Victims" and reporting and procedure
DE "Crime Victims" and reporting and procedure and rape
DE "Crime Victims" and reporting and rape
*Crime Victims; *Criminal
Justice; *Family Violence; *Health Care Services; *Legislative Processes;
Crime; Enactments; Health, *GOVERNMENTAL investigations, *RAPE -- Investigation,
*RAPE victims, *SEXUAL harassment of women, *SOLDIERS, *ARMED Forces,
*WOMEN soldiers, Sexual behavior
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Rape -- United States -- Investigation.
Bibliography on reporting rape
Justice Administration databases to search at the library: Criminal Justice Abstracts, NCJRS
Bachman, R. (1993).
Predicting the reporting of rape victimizations: have rape reforms made
"Victims were significantly more likely to report a rape if the offender had used physical force and if the victim had received medical attention for injuries sustained during the commission of the crime. Unlike earlier research, the present study found that victims were not more likely to report a rape if the perpetrator was a stranger or if the victimization occurred away from the victim's home."
Binder, Renee L. (1981). Why women don't report sexual assault. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 42(11) 437-438. link
Campbell, Rebecca (2006). Rape Survivors' Experiences With the Legal and Medical Systems. Violence Against Women, 12 (1), p30-45, 16p.
Clay-Warner, J.; Burt, C. H. (2005). Rape reporting after reforms: Have times really changed? Violence Against Women, 11(2). pp. 150-176.
"rapes committed after 1990 were more likely to be reported than rapes occurring before 1974. Aggravated rape continues to be more likely to be reported than simple rape"
Du Mont, J., Miller, K., Myhr, T. (2003). The role of `real rape' and `real victim' stereotypes in the police reporting practices of sexually assaulted women. Violence Against Women, 9(4), pp. 466-486.
"This research investigates whether, as some feminists have argued, myth-associated characteristics of sexual assaults play a role in the police reporting behaviors of women. The sample included 186 sexual assault victims seen at a hospital-based sexual assault care center in a large urban area in Ontario, Canada in 1994. Logistic regression analysis revealed a positive association between reporting a sexual assault to the police and two overtly violent components of the so-called real rape myth: the use of physical force and the occurrence of physical injury."
Frasier, Robert (2006). Rape myth acceptance and deterrents to rape reporting among women. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 66(8-B), 2006. pp. 4481. link
Jordan, J. (2004). "Beyond belief? Police, rape and women's credibility." Criminal Justice, 4 (1) pp. 29-59.
"Cues and triggers that appeared to influence officers' assessments of complainants' credibility included intoxication, delayed reporting, previous consensual sex with the alleged offender, previous complaint of rape, psychiatric disturbance and intellectual impairment, perceived immorality of the complainant, previous false complaint, and concealment. In general, the study substantiates that many female rape complainants continue to battle to gain credibility in the eyes of police officers, and that stereotypically based judgments continue to negatively affect police perceptions and decision making."
Keilty, J., Connelly, G. (2001). Making a statement: An exploratory study of barriers facing women with an intellectual disability when making a statement about sexual assault to police. Disability & Society, 16(2), pp. 273-291.
LeBeau, James L. (1988). Statute revision and the reporting of rape. Sociology & Social Research. 72(3) 201-207.
Maciejewski, Simone Irene (2002). Cultural influence on reporting rape to police: A comparison of Japanese American women and European American women. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 63(5-B), pp. 2592.
"Clinical implications for therapists, police officers, and crisis counselors who work with Japanese American rape victims are discussed, as well as suggestions for education and outreach to destigmatize rape victimization within the Japanese American community. Future research is also suggested to understand how these findings may apply to women of other Asian cultural groups."
Meier, Robert F., Pino, Nathan W. (1999). Gender Differences in Rape Reporting. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. 40.
Me´nard, Kim S. (2005) Main Title: Reporting sexual assault : a social ecology perspective. New York: LFB Scholarly Pub.
Monroe, Laura M.; Kinney, Linda M.; Weist, Mark D. (2005). The Experience of Sexual Assault: Findings From a Statewide Victim Needs Assessment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(7) pp. 767-776.
Orth, Uli (2002). Secondary Victimization of Crime Victims by Criminal Proceedings. Social Justice Research, 15 (4), p313-325, 13p, 3 charts
Peretti, Peter O.; Cozzens, Nancy (1983). Characteristics of female rapees not reporting and reporting the first incidence of rape. Corrective & Social Psychiatry & Journal of Behavior Technology, Methods & Therapy, 29(3), 1983. pp. 82-87.
Sable, M. &
Danis, F. (2006). Barriers to reporting sexual assault for women
and men: perspectives of college students. Journal of American College
Health, 55 (3): 157.
Shepherd, J. (2005). Editorial: Victim services in the National Health Service (NHS): Combining treatment with violence prevention. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 15(2) pp. 75-81.
Soothill, K; Grover, C. (1995). "Changes in the Newspaper Reporting of Rape Trials Since the Second World War." In: Home Office Research Bulletin, N 37 P 4549. London, England (1995). 5 pp. NCJ-159526.
Sorrentino, Renee (2006). Sexualized Violence Against Women and Children: A Psychology and Law Perspective. Psychiatric Services, 57(3), pp. 425. link
Temkin, Jennifer (1999). Reporting Rape in London: A Qualitative Study. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. 38 (1), p17, 25p; (AN 3254120)
Victoria, Ombudsman (2006). Improving responses to allegations involving sexual assault. Melbourne, VIC.
Winkel, F W; Vrij, A. (1993). Rape Reporting to the Police: Exploring the Social Psychological Impact of a Persuasive Campaign on Cognitions, Attitudes, Normative Expectations and Reporting Intentions. Oson, England. 18 pp. NCJ-150995.
Winkel, Frans Willem; Wohlfarth, Tamar; Blaauw, Eric; (2004). Police Referral to Victim Support: The Predictive and Diagnostic Value of the RISK (10) Screening Instrument. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. 25(3) pp. 118-127.
Young CL (2002). Barriers to reporting sexual assault as identified by sexual assault service providers: a qualitative study. University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, D.N.Sc. (66 p). link
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