Legal aspects of sexual violence-Does forensic evidence make a difference?

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A survey was done of 307 alleged victims of sexual violence reported to the police departments in Greater Aarhus, Denmark, in 1999-2004. The legal disposition was ascertained and related to victim and assault characteristics together with the forensic medical and laboratory findings. The police pressed charges in more than half of the cases and 11% turned out to be false allegations. Nineteen percent of all cases ended with sentencing of the defendant. Sperm was detected in 35% of the examined and analysed cases, and in 46% consumption of alcohol prior to the assault was reported. Information in the forensic report regarding injury documentation, intoxication, and detection of sperm and DNA match between victim and alleged assailant did not aid in the prosecution of the case. Severe coercion used by the assailant increased the likelihood of conviction. Intoxication estimation and sperm detection suffered from low sensitivity compared with laboratory analyses. Results suggest the need for new research and optimising the sexual assault examination protocol to strengthen the legal impact of forensic evidence. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftForensic Science International
Vol/bind180
Nummer2-3
Sider (fra-til)98-104
Antal sider7
ISSN0379-0738
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 18 sep. 2008

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