Factors predicting jury convictions in stranger rape cases

Lundrigan, Samantha, Dhami, Mandeep K. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6157-3142 and Agudelo, Kelly (2019) Factors predicting jury convictions in stranger rape cases. Frontiers in Psychology, 10 , 526. ISSN 1664-1078 [Article] (doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00526)

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Background: Despite there being no legal distinction between different types of rapes (e.g., those committed by strangers to the victim versus those committed by perpetrators known to the victim), stereotypical beliefs about rape have meant that these can be treated differently by the justice system. The aim is to explore the factors that predict juries’ decisions to convict or acquit in stranger rape cases.

Methods: We measured the importance of a range of 20 perpetrator-, victim-, and offense-related factors in predicting outcomes for 394 stranger rape cases tried by a jury. A four-stage analytic process was employed: (a) Kendall’s tau-b measured intercorrelations among the factors (predictors); (b) Chi-square and Welch t-tests measured associations between factors and verdicts; (c) binary logistic regression measured the power of factors in predicting verdicts; and (d) Stein’s formula was used to cross-validate the model.

Results: Jury verdicts were predicted by five offense-related factors and one victim-related factor. None of the perpetrator-related factors were significant predictors of convictions for stranger rape.

Conclusion: The findings have potential implications for victims of stranger rape, as well as prosecution and courtroom policy. We show that if a perpetrator is identified and charged, the likelihood of securing a conviction by a jury is high for victims of stranger rape. We suggest that prosecutors could gather as much information as possible from victims about the factors found to be of importance to juries, and judges could instruct juries on assumptions about the characteristics of the offense in order to challenge incorrect beliefs and stereotypes. Ultimately, this could be used to encourage victims of stranger rape to report and testify in court.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Section = Forensic and Legal Psychology
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 26345
Notes on copyright: Copyright © 2019 Lundrigan, Dhami and Agudelo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use,distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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Depositing User: Mandeep Dhami
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 07:33
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2020 20:45
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26345

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