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Open AccessArticle

Arrest and Referral Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases: The Influence of Police Discretion on Case Attrition

1
Department of Criminology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, USA
2
Department of Criminal Justice and Political Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060180
Received: 8 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 8 June 2019 / Published: 11 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spotlight on Violence Against Women)
Research on sexual assault case attrition spans from the decision of victims to report the incidents and cooperate with police during investigations through the final case disposition in the courtroom. However, few studies have focused on how police discretion influences attrition at the points of arrest and case referral. The current study examines factors of adult sexual assaults reported to the police to determine which legal and extralegal factors were predictive of arrest and which variables were predictive of police decisions to refer cases to prosecutors for consideration. The results of this study showed victim cooperation and evidence significantly predicted arrest and referral, along with variables which measured the seriousness of the case and victim credibility. The findings confirmed both legally relevant and extralegal variables were important considerations during each decision-making point. Implications arising from these results are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: sexual assault; police discretion; arrest decisions; case referral decisions sexual assault; police discretion; arrest decisions; case referral decisions
MDPI and ACS Style

Wentz, E.; Keimig, K. Arrest and Referral Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases: The Influence of Police Discretion on Case Attrition. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 180.

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