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Rape, inequality and the criminal justice response in England: the importance of age and gender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Early online date16 Jul 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Jun 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 16 Jul 2019


This article draws upon quantitative and content analysis of 585 reports of rape recorded within two police force areas in England in 2010 and in 2014 tracking individual incidents to eventual outcome to examine the impact, if any, of intersecting inequalities on trajectories of rape cases reported to police. The data was collected as part of the wider ESRC funded Justice, Inequality and Gender-Based Violence research project which examined victim-survivor
experiences and perspectives on justice. Building on existing distinctions between types of rape case based on the relationship between victim-survivor and accused (Hester and Lilley 2017) the results suggest age and gender are significant factors in how sexual violence, and the criminal justice system (CJS), is experienced. While younger women and girls were disproportionately affected by certain types of sexual violence case and more likely to come into contact with the CJS compared to men and older women, they were not necessarily more
likely to achieve a conviction. The findings also confirm that some of the most vulnerable victims-survivors of sexual violence, especially those with poor mental health, are still not achieving criminal justice. Victims-survivors from BME or LGBTQ+ groups are underrepresented within the CJS, implying these groups are not seeking a criminal justice response in the same way as ‘white’ heterosexual victims-survivors.

    Research areas

  • age, criminal justice, inequality, rape, sexual violence

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  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via SAGE Publications at 10.1177/1748895819863095 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 136 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


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