Rape victims on trial: Understanding police officers' and jurors' beliefs about sexual assault, victims, and perpetrators. (2012–2014)

Legal decision-making in relation to sexual assault is often influenced by shared social beliefs (schemas). In investigating these beliefs, prior research has confounded different schemas - offence prototypes, sexual script schemas and victim and perpetrator stereotypes. It is unclear which schemas are influential and when, making it difficult to reduce the impact of such extra-legal factors. Our research will identify the key schemas, and advance social cognitive theory by demonstrating through a multi-method approach with police and community members when and how these particular schemas influence decision-making. We will also test two ways to reduce the influence of these extra-legal factors to promote a fairer legal system.
Grant type:
ARC Discovery Projects
Funded by:
Australian Research Council