Feminism, power and politics in policing rape research: time for a paradigm shift

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  • 1 University of Bath, , UK
  • | 2 UCL, City University London, Sheffield Hallam University and Royal Holloway, , UK
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Over the last 40 years, academics, activists and policymakers have attempted to improve police and criminal justice (CJ) responses to rape, yet attrition in rape cases continues to rise (). Rape attrition studies have increasingly scrutinised the CJ process, initially in smaller scale, local research (for example, ) and more recently through national analysis of the CJ outcomes of police reported cases (for example, ). While this has greatly enhanced understanding of why cases may drop out, the focus has increasingly been on explaining attrition in the hope of improving CJ outcomes, rather than victim-survivors’ voices and what they want from the process. Similarly, to explore attrition at the police stage, surveys have been undertaken with officers to understand their attitudes, including rape myth acceptance (for example, ); again, with a focus on improving substantive CJ outcomes. In this article we call for researchers, activists and policymakers to pause and reflect upon the political and ideological reasons behind a focus on particular research questions using particular methodologies; and whether there is a need for more victim-survivor centred, indeed person-centred, research and practice where the focus is more on procedural justice rather than substantive justice.

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  • 1 University of Bath, , UK
  • | 2 UCL, City University London, Sheffield Hallam University and Royal Holloway, , UK

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