chapter  9
22 Pages

Leadership and role-taking in multiple perpetrator rape


This chapter explores multiple perpetrator rape (MPR) from a social psychological perspective with respect to instigation and interpersonal influence between co-offenders. While some studies (e.g. Miller, 1975) treat group offending as synonymous with the activities of gangs with well-defined structure and leadership, others contend that groups who offend together are not so highly structured (Hodgson, 2007; Reiss, 1986). Structure is defined as the existence of roles and hierarchy (Sherif & Sherif, 1969). The chapter starts with an overview of group structure in co-offending generally, before moving on to MPR specifically, including the differentiation of roles with respect to behaviour and power/ influence. Efforts to reliably identify leaders and measure leadership in cases of MPR are discussed, as well as the likely instability of group structure and the implications of this for understanding co-offending and tackling MPR. While gender is not explicitly discussed in depth, it should be noted that the majority of groups and offenders in the studies presented are male. This is particularly true for studies of MPR, with most MPR offences committed by all-male groups against female victims (Porter & Alison, 2006a; Woodhams, Cooke, Harkins & da Silva, 2012), but it is also often the case that studies of delinquency and co-offending in general focus predominantly on males (van Mastrigt & Farrington, 2009).