Is police investigation of rape biased by characteristics of victims?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionForensic Science International: Synergy. 2020, 2 98-106. 10.1016/j.fsisyn.2020.02.003
Aim To explore differences in police investigations between cases of rape against women with and without vulnerability factors. Methods Retrospective, descriptive study of cases of rape against women ≥16 years of age. Cases involving victims with and without vulnerability factors were compared regarding the quality of police investigation. Results Vulnerability was present among 68% of the victims. Cases with vulnerable victims had an adjusted odds ratio for a low-quality police investigation of 2.1 (95% CI [1.0–4.4]) compared to cases where victims were non-vulnerable. Conclusions Our results do not prove that rape myths existed among police officers. Our findings show a trend indicating that vulnerable victims may have been less prioritized compared to non-vulnerable victims. More studies are needed regarding how the police respond to rape complaints and to what degree police investigations are influenced by different characteristics of victims.