Predicting charges and convictions for rape suspects in Denmark: characteristics associated with the notion of the ‘credible criminal’

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  • L. H. Nielsen, Syddansk Universitet
  • ,
  • M. Hansen, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, Syddansk Universitet
  • ,
  • O. Ingemann-Hansen

In recent years, focus on the high attrition rates and low conviction rates in sexual assault cases in Scandinavia has increased. Attrition refers to the dropout of cases through the criminal justice system. However, only limited research exists on the importance of suspect characteristics for the legal outcomes in these cases. The present study is the first in Scandinavia to investigate legal and extralegal suspect variables relating to charges and convictions in the criminal justice system regarding suspected offenders in rape and attempted rape cases. All reported cases of rape and attempted rape in the Eastern Jutland Police District from 2008 to 2010 with an identified rape suspect (N = 175) were analysed through binary logistic regression analyses to examine which variables might increase the likelihood of charges or convictions. Results show that suspects with one or more prior sexual assault charges were more likely to be charged and convicted of a rape offence. The results of the present study help improve the understanding of the judicial processing of cases of rape from a different perspective than the victims’ and partially lend support to the hypothesis of ‘the credible criminal’ in terms of investigative and prosecutorial decision-making in rape cases.

TidsskriftNordic Journal of Criminology
Sider (fra-til)136-151
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2018

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