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ERIC Number: EJ987220
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-0886-2605
Expressed Sexual Assault Legal Context and Victim Culpability Attributions
Miller, Audrey K.; Markman, Keith D.; Amacker, Amanda M.; Menaker, Tasha A.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, v27 n6 p1023-1039 Apr 2012
Legal scholars have argued that laws have an "expressive function", specifically that sexual assault laws may convey social-level messages that victims are culpable for crimes against them. In a university sample, we conducted the first experimental test of legal scholars' proposal, hypothesizing that legal messages--specifically their clarity and effectiveness in conveying that sexual assault is a crime--affect victim culpability attributions. Results demonstrated that greater culpability was attributed to a victim of sexual assault within a context expressing unclear and ineffective sexual assault law than within a context clearly and effectively expressing that sexual assault is a crime. We also garnered empirical support for a mediation model, that is, negative affective reactions to a victim statistically accounted for the relationship between expressed legal context and victim culpability attributions. Implications for future psycholegal research and potential legal reforms are discussed. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A