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Sexual Assault Legislation - An Implementation Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
321 pages
In this study, interviews were conducted with 151 criminal justice practitioners in four occupations (police, prosecution, judge and defense attorney) as well as with victim advocates about their perceptions of rape law reforms.
Study sites were Miami and Jacksonville, Florida; Atlanta/Decatur and Savannah, Georgia; and Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Rape law reform was considered by the majority of respondents to increase victim reporting rates and victim cooperation with the legal process. Respondents were also asked to identify the most important rape law reform provisions in their view. The most important provisions were found to be the creation of a rape shield law, redefinition of criminal acts, eliminations of the resistance standard, and elimination of the corroboration requirement. When asked their degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with reform laws, the more comprehensive approach to law reform taken by Michigan produced greater satisfaction than the limited approach taken by Georgia. The findings indicate that there is widespread acceptance and support for rape law reform within the criminal justice system. (Author abstract modified)