On SAGE Insight: Reporting rape: Victim perspectives on advocacy support in the criminal justice process

From Criminology and Criminal Justice

Concerns about the criminal justice response to rape have prompted the development of victim advocacy services. This article draws upon a study evaluating an innovative advocacy model introduced in Scotland to assist reporting rape to the police. The findings make an important contribution to understanding the nature, meaning and value of advocacy work from the perspective of victims who have accessed advocacy services when reporting rape to the police. Not only did advocacy support improve victims’ experience of the criminal justice process and assist sustained engagement in this process, in some cases it also facilitated making a report of rape to the police in the first instance. The benefits of advocacy extend well beyond the emotional recovery of victims; advocacy also assists engagement in the criminal justice process.

 

Abstract

Concerns about the criminal justice response to rape have prompted the development of victim advocacy services across a range of jurisdictions, yet research evidence about the nature, meaning and value of advocacy remains limited. This article draws upon a study evaluating an innovative advocacy model introduced in Scotland to assist reporting rape to the police. Findings from interviews with nine victims highlight the importance of advocacy that is independent of statutory and criminal justice agencies. However, it is argued that this does not mitigate the need for specialization or reform in the criminal justice response to rape and, further, that the distinction between advocacy at an individual and societal level represents a false dichotomy.

 

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Article details
Oona Brooks and Michele Burman
Reporting rape: Victim perspectives on advocacy support in the criminal justice process
Criminology and Criminal Justice 1748895816667996, first published on September 14, 2016 doi:10.1177/1748895816667996

 

 

 

     
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