Rape Victims' Decision Making: Multilevel Analyses Using Cricis Center Data

Kim Menard, The Pennsylvania State University

ABSTRACT
Research on victim's decision making demonstrates that there are norms (i.e., commonly held dictates of behavior; Bates, 1956) regarding whether or not a victim should seek help and report the crime to the police. Further, a social ecology perspective indicates that individual behavior is likely affected by the different social system in which the individual is nested. Using hierarchical linear modeling, this study examines 1,230 rape victims who contacted a rape crisis center in one of 48 participating counties, to determine whether victims' normative decisions to seek help and contact the police are affected by the individual's history or the social systems in which they are nested. Specifically, it examines three questions: (1) whether individual-level factors affect victims' decision to seek help and contact the police controlling for county-level factors, (2) whether county-level factors affect victims' decision to seek help or contact the police controlling for individual-level factors, and (3) whether, as proposed by a social ecological perspective, county-level factors moderate and/or mediate victims' decision to seek help or contact the police.

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Updated 05/20/2006