A Survey of Police Officers' and Prosecutors' Beliefs About Crime Victim Behaviors

Ask, K.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2010
SAGE Publications
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(6); 1132-1149: June 2010
SAGE Publications

This author conducted a survey of Swedish police officers (n = 211) and prosecutors (n = 190) to assess law personnel's beliefs about the behaviors and reactions of victims of violent crimes. Results revealed considerable differences in the expected behavioral display of different types of crime victims, with rape and domestic assault victims seen as particularly prone to expressive self-presentation and self-blame. Despite empirical evidence showing otherwise, most respondents thought that crime victims' nonverbal and emotional expression is to some extent related to the truthfulness of their accounts. However, educational efforts appeared to have a corrective influence on such beliefs. The perceived prevalence of false reports differed across crime types, with rape and mugging receiving particularly high estimates. Time constraints were seen, especially by prosecutors, as an impediment to appropriate treatment of crime victims. Modified Author Abstract.

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