Rape, Victims, and Investigations : Experiences and Perceptions of Law Enforcement Officers Responding to Reported Rapes book cover
1st Edition

Rape, Victims, and Investigations
Experiences and Perceptions of Law Enforcement Officers Responding to Reported Rapes

ISBN 9781138666092
Published March 3, 2016 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Despite changes to laws and attitudes, rape continues at epidemic levels worldwide. As gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, law enforcement officers are important to the processing of rape cases and their interactions with victims can potentially affect the victim’s reaction to and recovery from rape.

In order to better understand rape and the processing of cases through the criminal justice and legal systems, Rape, Victims and Investigations explores the unique perceptions and experiences of detectives who respond to rape victims and investigate rape cases. The detective’s investigation is the foundation of the prosecution’s case; the book considers factors that contribute to the challenging nature of rape investigations, such as lack of evidence or a clear, credible victim statement. Detectives’ perceptions of victims’ revictimization by the criminal justice and legal systems are also explored. The book also looks at specific causes of police stress and burnout related to working rape cases, financial struggles faced by departments, and ways to meet these challenges.

By integrating previous research within the context of rich interview data, Rape, Victims and Investigations provides deep insight for readers and will contribute to the continued improvement of treatment of victims by the criminal justice system. The book will be essential reading for academics, students, law enforcement officers, those who provide services to sexual assault victims and victims themselves.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Rape myths and theoretical considerations  3. Detectives’ perceptions of rape  4. Detectives’ perceptions of victims  5. Investigations  6. Detectives’ perceptions of victims’ revictimization  7. Vicarious trauma and organizational challenges  8. Conclusion and policy implications  Appendix Methodology.

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Shana L. Maier, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Widener University. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Saint Joseph’s University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. She began her career at Widener University in 2005. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, the treatment of rape victims by the criminal justice system, medical and legal systems, the transformation of rape crisis centers, and the experiences and perceptions of rape victim advocates, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, and law enforcement officers who respond to rape victims.


‘The first of its kind, this book presents much-needed "cutting edge" research that enhances a social scientific understanding of law enforcement officers' perspectives of, and experiences with, sexual assault survivors. Maier's work is destined to become a classic piece of feminist scholarship that will do much to advance the field. It is also essential reading for scholars, activists, practitioners, and policymakers who work in the area of sexual assault.’ - Walter S. DeKeseredy, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, West Virginia University, USA

‘Using rich interview data with detectives, Dr. Shana L. Maier's study enhances our understanding of the personal and professional side of rape investigations and the multiple conflicts detectives face when working rape cases. Detectives reveal their struggles, challenges and successes with victims and rape investigations. Practitioners, policy-makers, advocates and academics will read this book and find much to consider about case processing and the crucial role that detectives play.’ - Susan L. Miller, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware, USA

‘An important qualitative study of police detectives’ perspectives on rape victims’ experiences with the criminal justice/legal system. Maier illuminates the role of the police and their views on the crime of sexual assault, including perceptions of victims, other professionals’ roles, and effects of doing this work. I recommend this volume to researchers, practitioners and all who seek to improve the police and criminal legal system’s handling of rape and rape victims.’ - Sarah E. Ullman, PhD, Professor of Criminology, Law, & Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA