Understanding Attrition in Rape Cases

ESRC logo.Funded by the ESRC, this three-year project, led by Dr Lesley McMillan, aims to collect a large body of evidence about the process and experience of reporting the crime of rape.

Evidence gathered will be examined to establish what factors influence the very low conviction rate for rape and to generate a deeper understanding of why certain cases 'drop out' of the criminal justice process somewhere between reporting and trial.

In order to understand 'drop out' in more depth evidence will be gathered at each stage of the rape prosecution process and the Sussex area used as a case study.

Qualitative data will be gathered through in-depth interviews with criminal justice personnel including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, forensic science and medical service, barristers and judges, women and men who have, and have not, reported rape to the police, and expert witnesses used at trial stage.

One year’s worth of reported rape cases will be tracked and data gathered for quantitative multivariate analysis to identify the factors that influence attrition at various stages of the criminal justice process. Those cases that reach court will be observed as an integral part of the research.  The findings of the research will inform future policy and development.

The research is being conducted in the county of Sussex in South East England and utilises a multi-method approach.

Dr Lesley McMillan
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
T: +44 (0)141 331 8284
E: lesley.mcmillan@gcu.ac.uk