Factors predicting conviction in child stranger rape

Lundrigan, Samantha, Dhami, Mandeep K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6157-3142 and Agudelo, Kelly (2020) Factors predicting conviction in child stranger rape. Child Abuse & Neglect, 101 , 104242. ISSN 0145-2134 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104242)

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Background. Public knowledge of child stranger rape is shaped largely by media portrayals of a small number of cases, often marked by sensational trials, which may result in juror misconceptions of this offense. It is important to understand the factors that may influence jury verdicts in order to maximize the chance of guilty defendants being convicted.

Objective. The aim is to explore the factors that predict juries’ decisions to convict or acquit in child stranger rape cases.
Participants and Setting. The study utilizes a police database of recorded child stranger rape cases from a UK urban force from 2001-2015. Seventy cases that were tried by jury were analyzed. We investigated the extent to which 19 child-, accused- and offense-related factors predict jury verdicts.

Methods. A four stage analytic process was employed: (a) Kendall’s tau-b measured inter-correlations among the factors; (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. Verdicts were predicted by two offense-related factors. A weapon increased the odds of conviction by 412%. An outdoor location increased the odds by 360%.

Conclusions. The findings have potential implications for prosecution case building and courtroom policy. Prosecutors could gather as much information as possible from victims about the factors found to be of importance to juries. Judges could challenge incorrect beliefs and stereotypes by instructing juries.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Language, Learning and Cognition group
Item ID: 28442
Notes on copyright: © 2019. This author's accepted manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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Depositing User: Mandeep Dhami
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2019 14:48
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 04:04
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28442

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