A systematic review of experimental studies investigating attitudes towards sexual revictimization: Findings, ecological validity, and scientific rigor

Nadia Wager, Simon Goodson, Loren Parton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Evidence from attrition studies indicates that complainants who experience sexual assault on more than one occasion and by different perpetrators (i.e. sexual revictimization) are unlikely to have their cases progress through to prosecution. Purpose: The aim of this systematic review was to ascertain what can be learned from experimental studies to aid the understanding of this real-world phenomenon. Specifically, to investigate the attributions made to hypothetical cases of sexual revictimization in mock-juror-type, (quasi)experimental studies. Methods: This systematic review entailed searching 13 electronic databases. Over 6,000 potential sources were generated, of which 24 met the criteria for full-text reading. Application of the inclusion criteria, led to this review being based on 12 articles published between 1976 and 2020. These referred to 16 studies involving 4,021 participants. Findings: The findings, except for one study, revealed consistent evidence of bias towards victims of sexual revictimization, which related to higher levels of disbelief and victim-blame, and other factors. Complainants were blamed most by women when the context was perceived as risky. Conclusions: There were several methodological issues with many of the studies which compromised their ecological validity and applicability. Recommendations are made for future research in this area, and police training and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101832
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Volume75
Early online date8 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021

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