What do we know about rape myths and juror decision making?

Leverick, F. (2020) What do we know about rape myths and juror decision making? International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 24(3), pp. 255-279. (doi: 10.1177/1365712720923157)

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This paper presents overwhelming evidence that prejudicial and false beliefs held by jurors about rape affect their evaluation of the evidence and their decision making in rape cases. The paper draws together for the first time the available evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies (most of which are not found in law journals, but rather in scientific outlets, most commonly those focusing on experimental psychology). The quantitative research demonstrates that mock jurors’ scores on so-called “rape myth scales” are significant predictors of their judgments about responsibility, blame and (most importantly) verdict. The qualitative research indicates that jurors frequently express problematic views about how ‘real’ rape victims would behave and what ‘real’ rape looks like during mock jury deliberations and that even those who score relatively low on abstract rape myth scales can express prejudicial beliefs when deliberating in a particular case. The studies vary in terms of their realism, but it is important to note that some of the studies reported here were highly realistic trial reconstructions, involving representative samples of jurors drawn from the community, live trial reconstructions, evidence in chief and cross-examination, accurate legal directions and deliberation in groups. The review concludes by examining the evidence on whether juror education – whether in the form of judicial directions or expert evidence – might be effective in addressing problematic attitudes.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The review was written while the author was undertaking research funded by the Scottish Government (the Scottish Jury Research) and one section of the paper draws on the findings of that research.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leverick, Professor Fiona
Authors: Leverick, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:International Journal of Evidence and Proof
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1740-5572
Published Online:08 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in International Journal of Evidence and Proof 24(3): 255-279
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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