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NCJ Number: 229395 Find in a Library
Title: Changing Perceptions of Non-Consensual Sex Crime: The Mediation of a Local Newspaper
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:48  Issue:5  Dated:December 2009  Pages:446-460
Author(s): Keith Soothill
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 15
Type: Historical Overview; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This British study examined all cases of nonconsensual sex crimes involving a court appearance that were reported in a local newspaper, the Lancaster Guardian, over a period of 120 years (1860-1979), with attention to the types of case outcomes reported and the types of cases that attracted more coverage than others.
Abstract: Regarding case outcomes, the proportion of defendants acquitted has declined significantly over time. In the first period (1860-1879), one in three of the defendants were acquitted, but by the time of the last period (1960-1979), one in nine of the defendants were acquitted; however, the number of noncustodial sentences increased in these years. This may have led to a public perception that sex offenders were not being sufficiently punished and were 'getting away with it', an attitude that usually reflects public dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system. Regarding the types of cases receiving newspaper coverage, cases that involved children being raped were reported in detail in the early years, including incest cases in which the parties were named. In later years, older victims were much more heavily featured. This study involved searching just over 6,000 editions of the Lancaster Guardian, which has served a very old town that received its first borough charter in 1193, becoming a city in May 1937. 5 tables, 4 notes, and 13 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice research; Media coverage; Sex offenses; Sexual assault; Trend analysis
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