Recorded Withdrawal from the Police Investigation among Victims of Rape: A Mixed Method Approach to Identifying Case Characteristics and Police Documented Reasons

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Abstract

According to police records, many rape cases are closed because victims withdraw from the police investigation. However, little is known about the causes of victim withdrawal, and findings need to be replicated in other cultural contexts, as existing literature primarily stems from the US and UK. Based on a sample of rapes reported in a Danish police district, the present study was aimed at enhancing our understanding of the characteristics and causes of recorded victim withdrawal from the police investigation following rape using a mixed-methods approach. The objective of the study was twofold. The first objective was to investigate the impact of selected case characteristics on the likelihood of recorded victim withdrawal using a logistic regression analysis. Results showed that stranger assaults and cases with no verbal or physical victim resistance or no forensic examination were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of recorded victim withdrawal. The second objective was to qualitatively explore police documented reasons for victim withdrawal in files using content analysis. Results indicated that victims may withdraw from the investigation for several reasons, for instance due to psychological distress associated with participating in an investigation. The findings underline potential barriers for the cooperation between victims and police in the investigation of rapes and should be used for establishing initiatives toward reducing the risk of victim withdrawal in rape investigations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Psychology
ISSN1901-2276
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28. Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Sexual assault
  • legal process
  • rape
  • victim participation
  • victim withdrawal

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