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Criminology and Justice Studies

Decision-Making in Sexual Assault Cases: Replication Research on Sexual Violence Case Attrition in the U.S.

Principal Investigators:

Linda Williams, April Pattavina, Melissa Morabito

Funded by the National Institute of Justice, 2012-IJ-CX-0052

The attrition of sexual assault cases from the criminal justice system has been a concern to victims, practitioners, and researchers for the last forty years. A growing body of research suggests that there is still much that can be done to support victims and to assure that the role of extra-legal factors in case attrition is minimized, however, gaps remain in our knowledge of the processing of these cases. Spohn and Tellis (2012) made a significant contribution to our understanding of the factors that explain sexual violence (SV) case attrition at the policing and prosecutorial stages. Because these findings were specific to agencies in Los Angeles County, there is a need to examine case processing in other jurisdictions to understand more about factors predictive of attrition. A multi-site replication will permit consideration of individual, agency, and community characteristics; victim advocacy; and police and prosecutorial innovations.