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ASC (American Society of Criminology) Task Force on Violence Against Women: Summarization of Issues and Recommendations on Rape

NCJ Number
S Carinegella-MacDonald
Date Published
11 pages
This summary of issues and recommendations on rape developed by the American Society of Criminology Task Force on Violence Against Women focuses on the need to analyze the implementation of existing rape laws and to enact additional legislation to benefit rape victims and the prosecution of rape defendants.
In the 20 years since rape-law reforms have been enacted, relatively little research has examined progress toward envisioned reform goals; the research that has been conducted suggests more failure than success in the implementation of reform statutes. Antiquated patterns for prosecuting rape defendants persist; only the "classic" stranger rape cases are successfully investigated and prosecuted, rather than the more frequent "date" or "acquaintance" rapes. Marital rape has been prosecuted only when it involves brutal cases perpetrated by separated spouses. Even with the more traditional "stranger" rape cases, victims are often blamed for the offense. There must be more research on the implementation of reforms, and the results should be widely disseminated to criminal justice officials, social service providers, other practitioners, academicians, and the public. Additionally, other legislative initiatives must be enacted. First, States that have enacted only nominal reforms should follow the guidelines of model legislation, which contains such provisions as the abolition of corroboration and resistance requirements and the prohibition of placing in evidence the victim's sexual history. Second, victims' and women's right to be safe and secure should be legally and socially recognized and prioritized; this need not be at the expense of defendants' rights. Third, recourse for the pains and costs of victimization should be expanded through State and local compensation programs. Other recommendations for legislation include an increase in inservice training for police sex-crimes units and prosecution personnel; training in rape victims' rights for social service, criminal justice, and medical personnel; and the prioritization of the compilation of data on rape victimizations and case processing at the local, State, and Federal levels. Programs for rape offenders also require attention and funding. Further and perhaps of greatest impact is the education of the public to increase awareness and dispel the myths about this crime and its victims. 14 references


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