University Study Finds Only a Tiny Percentage of Rape Cases Are Successfully Prosecuted

julie-valentine-thumbA study led by Julie Valentine, an assistant professor of nursing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has found that the vast majority of rape cases are never prosecuted. Dr. Valentine randomly selected 270 cases in Salt Lake County from 2003 to 2011. Only cases where the victim consented to rape examinations and were interviewed by a trained sexual assault nurse examiner were included.

The results showed that of the 270 rape cases, two thirds were never presented to the district attorney’s office for review. Of the cases reviewed by prosecutors, only 25 percent resulted in charges. Of the 270 total cases, only 16 resulted in a conviction or a guilty plea by the offender.

In many cases, the reason prosecutions did not go forward was the reluctance of the victim to proceed with the case. This shows that law enforcement authorities need to take steps to make the process less traumatic and less intimidating to victims of sexual assault.

The study only included cases up to 2011. Since that time the prosecutor’s office in Salt Lake County has decided to review all rape cases.

Dr. Valentine is a graduate of the University of Arizona. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in nursing from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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