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NCJ Number: 210812 Find in a Library
Title: What Really Happened?: A Validation Study of Rape Survivors' Help-Seeking Experiences With the Legal and Medical Systems
Journal: Violence and Victims  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:February 2005  Pages:55-68
Author(s): Rebecca Campbell Ph.D.
Date Published: February 2005
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared the perspectives of rape survivors and personnel within the medical and legal systems regarding their help seeking interactions.
Abstract: Following an attack, rape survivors need the help of both the medical and legal communities. Much of what is known about the interactions between rape survivors and personnel within the legal and medical systems is derived from victims’ accounts. In an effort to further the understanding of victim-system interactions, the current study compared the perspectives of rape survivors and service personnel using interview data. Participants were 81 female rape survivors who were interviewed before their hospital discharge, as well as the 26 nurses, 18 doctors, and 22 police officers who had contact with them prior to their hospital discharge. Interviews focused on services victims received and perceptions of how victims were treated by social system personnel. Results of statistical analyses indicated significant interrater reliability between the accounts offered by the rape survivors and those offered by social system personnel in terms of services provided and in terms of whether personnel engaged in secondary victimization behaviors. On the other hand, doctors and police officers significantly underestimated the distress they were causing to rape survivors. The findings suggest that some service providers may be unaware of how their actions are impacting rape survivors. Future research should focus on the motivations and intent driving service personnel’s behaviors, including whether these personnel experience vicarious trauma from their work with rape survivors. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Comparative analysis; Criminal Justice System Response to Victims
Index Term(s): Attitudes toward victims; Perception; Rape investigations; Victim reactions to the Criminal Justice System; Victim services
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