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“I Was Worried I Wouldn't Be Believed”: Sexual Assault Victims' Perceptions of the Police in the Decision to Not Report

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Abstract

Most sexual assault victims make the conscious decision to not report to the police. Concerns about the police appear to be prominent in victims' decision-making, but we do not know specifically what these concerns entail, and therefore cannot address them. A qualitative inquiry is needed to understand perceptions of the police in reporting decisions, from the voices of victims themselves. Participants (N = 175) responded to an open-ended survey question about their decision to not report to the police following sexual victimization. Analyses revealed that police perceptions shaped the decision to not report for 36% (n = 63) of participants. Nonreporting decisions related to the police fell into two themes: concerns of police treatment and previous/vicarious negative experiences with the police. We include recommendations for police and a call for alternative reporting options.

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Article Usage
Period Abstract Full PDF Total
Oct 2021 63 9 5 77
Sep 2021 1032 4 6 1042
Aug 2021 1072 4 3 1079
Jul 2021 1216 4 4 1224
Jun 2021 1345 6 9 1360