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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 147910 Find in a Library
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1993)  Pages:383-409
Author(s): C Spohn; J Horney
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: SES-9010826
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results of this study provide very limited support for the hypothesis that the effect of victim characteristics on rape processing decisions declined over the past 20 years due to rape law reform.
Abstract: The study focused on rape law reform in Michigan where the statute redefines rape and other forms of sexual assault by establishing degrees of gender-neutral criminal sexual conduct based on offense seriousness, amount of force or coercion used, degree of injury inflicted, and victim age and incapacitation. Michigan's statute also delineates circumstances constituting coercion, lists situations in which no showing of force is required, and states explicitly that the victim need not resist the accused. To evaluate the impact of rape law reform in Michigan, court data on 24,000 rape cases between 1970 and 1984 were obtained. Detailed information was also gathered from case files maintained by the Detroit Police Department's sex crimes unit on a random sample of rape cases. The analysis examined the effects of victim, defendant, and case characteristics on case processing outcomes. Little support was found to indicate that the effect of victim characteristics on case processing decisions declined in the postreform period. Most victim characteristics did not have the expected effects on the likelihood of case dismissal, charge reduction, conviction, or incarceration. On the other hand, results demonstrated that the proportion of rape cases involving evidence of risk-taking behavior by the victim and questions about the victim's credibility increased in the postreform period. 39 references and 5 tables
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Criminology; Michigan; Rape; Rape law reform; State courts; State crime statistics; State laws
Note: Earlier version of paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, 1992, New Orleans
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