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ERIC Number: EJ950159
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0886-2605
Gender Difference or Indifference? Detective Decision Making in Sexual Assault Cases
Alderden, Megan A.; Ullman, Sarah E.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, v27 n1 p3-22 Jan 2012
Prior research examining sexual assault case decision making has failed to account for the demographic characteristics of the criminal justice practitioners charged with making case decisions. Inclusion of such information is important because it provides researchers with a greater understanding of how criminal justice practitioners' own gender, race, age, and past experiences affect their judgments. This study seeks to examine whether gender differences exist in detectives' arrest decisions in sexual assault cases. Victim, suspect, incident, and detective characteristics are collected from police case and investigatory files on 328 criminal sexual assault cases involving adult female victims reported to a large Midwestern police department in 2003. Logistic regression is used to determine whether detective gender predicted the odds of arrest after controlling for incident, victim, and suspect characteristics. It is hypothesized that cases involving female detectives would be more likely to result in arrest after controlling for other incident, victim, and suspect characteristics. However, contrary to expectations, female detectives are significantly less likely than male detectives to arrest suspects in sexual assault cases even after controlling for the influence of other factors shown to predict arrest. The findings support prior research that suggests female practitioners may not necessarily be more sensitive toward female victims despite previous assumptions that this would hold true. The findings suggest that efforts to hire female police officers for the purposes of dealing with female-related victimization may ultimately undermine efforts to improve victim experiences with the criminal justice system. They further suggest that both researchers and police administrators need to rethink the best ways to serve female victims beyond hiring mandates. (Contains 3 tables and 1 note.)
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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