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Neutralizing sexual victimization: a typology of victims' non-reporting accounts

Author(s)Weiss, Karen G
Title Neutralizing sexual victimization: a typology of victims' non-reporting accounts
Source Theoretical Criminology,2011, Vol 15, Issue. 4, pp 445-467
Date 2011 
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This study explores the rationales that victims use to justify why they do not report sexual assault incidents to the police. Data was obtained from the sexual victimisation incident summaries collected by the National Crime Victimization Survey. Four types of non-reporting accounts were identified after analysing 792 victim narratives. The first type, representing 12% of the sample, were those where the victim denied that the offenders intended to harm them and the offender's behaviour was unintentional, perhaps because they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the second group of accounts, representing 16% of the sample, the victims deny they were seriously injured, including attempted sexual assault incidents. In the third type the victim denies their own innocence and accepts some responsibility for what happened to them, because of, for example, their own risky behaviour. The fourth category identified in the study consists of those victims who rejected a helpless victim identity and saw themselves as survivors. The author recommends applying the results of this study to improve reporting rates of sexual assault.
Keywords Sexual assault; rape; reporting to police; victimisation survey
Topic Victimisation