Is police investigation of rape biased by characteristics of victims?

Bjarte Frode Vik, Kirsten Rasmussen, Berit Schei, Cecilie Therese Hagemann

Vitenskapelig artikkel
Forensic Science International: Synergy, 2020
Online / DOI:
Aim: To explore differences in police investigations between cases of rape against women with and without vulnerability factors. Methods: Retrospective, descriptive study of cases of rape against women ≥16 years of age. Cases involving victims with and without vulnerability factors were compared regarding the quality of police investigation. Results: Vulnerability was present among 68% of the victims. Cases with vulnerable victims had an adjusted odds ratio for a low-quality police investigation of 2.1 (95% CI [1.0–4.4]) compared to cases where victims were non-vulnerable. Conclusions: Our results do not prove that rape myths existed among police officers. Our findings show a trend indicating that vulnerable victims may have been less prioritized compared to non-vulnerable victims. More studies are needed regarding how the police respond to rape complaints and to what degree police investigations are influenced by different characteristics of victims.