Changing police officers’ attitudes in sexual offense cases: a 12-month follow-up study

Tidmarsh, Patrick, Hamilton, Gemma and Sharman, Stefanie J 2020, Changing police officers’ attitudes in sexual offense cases: a 12-month follow-up study, Criminal justice and behavior, vol. 47, no. 9, pp. 1176-1189, doi: 10.1177/0093854820921201.

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Title Changing police officers’ attitudes in sexual offense cases: a 12-month follow-up study
Author(s) Tidmarsh, Patrick
Hamilton, Gemma
Sharman, Stefanie JORCID iD for Sharman, Stefanie J
Journal name Criminal justice and behavior
Volume number 47
Issue number 9
Start page 1176
End page 1189
Total pages 14
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2020-09-01
ISSN 0093-8548
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Psychology, Clinical
Criminology & Penology
police attitudes
rape myths
specialist police training
sexual offending
whole story
Summary We examined whether specialist training can have an immediate and lasting impact on investigators’ attitudes in sexual offense cases. Australian police officers participated in a 4-week training program that focused on the dynamics of sexual offending. Officers completed questionnaires before, immediately after, and 9 to 12 months following training. They were presented with scenarios involving adult and child complainants with varying levels of evidence (strong, weak, or ambiguous) and rated their confidence that the case would be approved for prosecution, the likelihood of a guilty verdict, and the level of responsibility attributed to the victim. Following training, investigators became more confident in case approvals and guilty verdicts, less likely to attribute responsibility to victims, and demonstrated better understanding of sexual offense dynamics. Ratings of victim responsibility and guilty verdicts were maintained 9 to 12 months post-training; however, confidence in case approvals decreased after working in the field. Implications for police training programs are discussed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0093854820921201
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1602 Criminology
1701 Psychology
1801 Law
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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