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"Most False Reports Involve Teens": Officer Attitudes Toward Teenage Sexual Assault Complainants-A Qualitative Analysis

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: 2020 Pages: 24-45
Date Published
22 pages

Using data from in-depth semi-structured interviews with 52 Los Angeles Police Department sex crimes detectives, this study examined officer attitudes toward teenage complainants in sexual assault (SA) cases.


Scholars, advocates, and victims have repeatedly criticized the police treatment of sexual assault (SA) complainants. Apathetic attitudes and hostile behavior on the part of the police have likely resulted from socialization into a culture that condones the use of force and violence and blames SA victims for their victimization. The current study found that almost three-fourths of the respondents (n = 38; 73 percent) mentioned that teenagers lie about SA. Practical implications, theoretical advancements, and directions for future research are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020