When Victims Refuse and Prosecutors Decline: Examining Exceptional Clearance in Sexual Assault Cases

Tara N. Richards, Marie Skubak Tillyer, Emily M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines the predictors of sexual assault case clearance, with a focus on arrest and two types of exceptional clearance: victim refusal to cooperate and prosecutorial declination to prosecute. Using National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data on crime incidents that contain a sexual offense (N = 21,977), we estimated a multinomial regression model to examine the predictors of different clearance types for cases of sexual assault. Results indicated that the likelihood of victim refusal decreases in cases perpetrated by strangers, involving victim injury, occurring in public, and involving multiple offenses. A similar pattern of findings was observed for the decision to decline to prosecute a case. In addition, prosecutors are more likely to decline to prosecute cases with male victims and older victims. We discuss the implications of our findings and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-498
Number of pages25
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Volume65
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Fingerprint

Risk Management
Crime
assault
Information Systems
Wounds and Injuries
incident
offense
sexual offense
reporting system
Direction compound
regression

Keywords

  • predictors of arrest
  • prosecutorial discretion
  • secondary victimization
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

Cite this

When Victims Refuse and Prosecutors Decline : Examining Exceptional Clearance in Sexual Assault Cases. / Richards, Tara N.; Tillyer, Marie Skubak; Wright, Emily M.

In: Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 65, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 474-498.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{0f04f592cd5b4906851fcc81cbf3cd2a,
title = "When Victims Refuse and Prosecutors Decline: Examining Exceptional Clearance in Sexual Assault Cases",
abstract = "This study examines the predictors of sexual assault case clearance, with a focus on arrest and two types of exceptional clearance: victim refusal to cooperate and prosecutorial declination to prosecute. Using National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data on crime incidents that contain a sexual offense (N = 21,977), we estimated a multinomial regression model to examine the predictors of different clearance types for cases of sexual assault. Results indicated that the likelihood of victim refusal decreases in cases perpetrated by strangers, involving victim injury, occurring in public, and involving multiple offenses. A similar pattern of findings was observed for the decision to decline to prosecute a case. In addition, prosecutors are more likely to decline to prosecute cases with male victims and older victims. We discuss the implications of our findings and directions for future research.",
keywords = "predictors of arrest, prosecutorial discretion, secondary victimization, sexual assault",
author = "Richards, {Tara N.} and Tillyer, {Marie Skubak} and Wright, {Emily M.}",
year = "2019",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0011128719828351",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "65",
pages = "474--498",
journal = "Crime and Delinquency",
issn = "0011-1287",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - When Victims Refuse and Prosecutors Decline

T2 - Examining Exceptional Clearance in Sexual Assault Cases

AU - Richards, Tara N.

AU - Tillyer, Marie Skubak

AU - Wright, Emily M.

PY - 2019/4/1

Y1 - 2019/4/1

N2 - This study examines the predictors of sexual assault case clearance, with a focus on arrest and two types of exceptional clearance: victim refusal to cooperate and prosecutorial declination to prosecute. Using National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data on crime incidents that contain a sexual offense (N = 21,977), we estimated a multinomial regression model to examine the predictors of different clearance types for cases of sexual assault. Results indicated that the likelihood of victim refusal decreases in cases perpetrated by strangers, involving victim injury, occurring in public, and involving multiple offenses. A similar pattern of findings was observed for the decision to decline to prosecute a case. In addition, prosecutors are more likely to decline to prosecute cases with male victims and older victims. We discuss the implications of our findings and directions for future research.

AB - This study examines the predictors of sexual assault case clearance, with a focus on arrest and two types of exceptional clearance: victim refusal to cooperate and prosecutorial declination to prosecute. Using National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data on crime incidents that contain a sexual offense (N = 21,977), we estimated a multinomial regression model to examine the predictors of different clearance types for cases of sexual assault. Results indicated that the likelihood of victim refusal decreases in cases perpetrated by strangers, involving victim injury, occurring in public, and involving multiple offenses. A similar pattern of findings was observed for the decision to decline to prosecute a case. In addition, prosecutors are more likely to decline to prosecute cases with male victims and older victims. We discuss the implications of our findings and directions for future research.

KW - predictors of arrest

KW - prosecutorial discretion

KW - secondary victimization

KW - sexual assault

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85061581064&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85061581064&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0011128719828351

DO - 10.1177/0011128719828351

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85061581064

VL - 65

SP - 474

EP - 498

JO - Crime and Delinquency

JF - Crime and Delinquency

SN - 0011-1287

IS - 4

ER -