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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 153621 Find in a Library
Title: Rape Trials in Victoria: Gender, Socio-Cultural Factors and Justice
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:27  Issue:3  Dated:(December 1994)  Pages:213-236
Author(s): A Edwards; M Heenan
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article examines the operation of the criminal law in Victoria (Australia), both substantive and procedural, with respect to rape in the context of the concerns raised by feminist legal scholars, academics, and women's groups over the last 20 or so years.
Abstract: The data on which the discussion is based relate to the trial stage of the judicial process, and since the data were obtained in 1990, deal with the situation in Victoria following the changes introduced in the Crimes (Sexual Offenses) Act 1980, but prior to the most recent reforms in the Crimes Act 1991 and Crimes (Rape) Act 1991. Since the 1970's, a number of reforms have been introduced into the statutes and procedures relating to the definition of rape and the conduct of rape cases in the courts. This paper reports on the results of a 1990 Melbourne study that involved first-hand observation and systematic written recording of the entire court proceedings in six rape trials. The intention was to examine the role extra-legal socio-cultural factors play in the presentation and interpretation of accounts given in court and the influence they have on the outcomes. The analysis explores the influence of the use of physical force and resistance; alcohol; and the victim's social, moral, and particularly sexual character, as well as her relationship with the accused. The cases presented show that even when there is a consistent and credible story from the complainant and no motive for lying, unless there is also clear evidence of violence, defendants are not convicted. Some law reforms suggested by feminist groups to address this issue are described. 30 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Court procedures; Cultural influences; Foreign criminal justice research; Gender issues; Rape; Sexual assault victims; Trial procedures; Victoria
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