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Observing Court Responses to Victims of Rape and Sexual Assault

Olivia Smith and Tina Skinner.

Feminist Criminology. October 2012, vol. 7, no. 4; 298-326.

 

Abstract

Despite years of policy reform in England and Wales, court responses to rape and sexual assault victims remain inadequate. Existing literature often relies on interviews, is outdated by policy, or ignores underlying assumptions. This study therefore observed rape and sexual assault trials, identifying underlying assumptions using critical discourse analysis (CDA). The main themes that arose were routine delays, notions of "rational" behavior, extreme interpretations of "beyond reasonable doubt" (BRD) and "burden of proof," and winning as priority. These highlight the need to move beyond prioritizing shorter term change and begin addressing the fundamental inadequacies of court responses to rape and sexual assault victims.

Etiketter: rape sexual assault

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