Police Investigation of Sexual Assault

Martin D. Schwartz, National Institute of Justice

There have been many studies of the police investigations of sexual assault, and few put the police in a positive light. While there are some studies that show that years of training has resulted in police generally aware of the need to treat female victims with some care and concern, others feel that this is just a veneer that covers a "business as usual" misogynistic and homophobic culture. This study investigates police attitudes toward the roadblocks to a successful rape investigation, and the frustrations suffered by police first responders and investigators. Some topics of interest are time management problems that prevent much time being put into any one case, the stress that rape investigations can feel from being made the butt of jokes from other officers, and the difficulties of dealing with male on male and lesbian rape.

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Updated 05/20/2006