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Sexual Assault Crisis Centre Workers' Perceptions of Law Enforcement: Defining the Situation From a Systems Perceptive

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2008 Pages: 23-35
Brian K. Payne; R. Alan Thompson
Date Published
13 pages
In an attempt to fill the research void on how professionals perceive problems with collaborating with law enforcement and the consequences of those perceptions, this study describes the experience in a sample of sexual assault crisis workers in collaborating with law enforcement agencies and the potential consequences.
The results suggest a number of negative perceptions that sexual assault workers have towards law enforcement officers. These perceptions included: (1) law enforcement officers not regularly attending sexual assault response team meetings; (2) a lack of understanding about the role of victim advocates in the process; and (3) concerns about evidence collection, victim blaming, and the lack of policies. The task is to reduce these negative perceptions. Potential strategies include: (1) improving sexual assault training; (2) changing the task environment; and (3) formal collaborative sexual assault policies. To date, the literature tends to be extensive with research examining individuals’ perceptions of the police. However, most of this research has focused on how members of the public perceive law enforcement and not on how professionals perceive problems they have collaborating with law enforcement. This study examined how sexual assault crisis workers (N = 44) defined their collaborations (perceptions) with law enforcement officers with attention given to the possible consequences of those perceptions. Notes, references