chapter  7
12 Pages

Statutory response to sexual violence

Where doubt is always considered reasonable
ByDeborah White, Lesley McMillan

This chapter builds upon extant research and suggests that the key impediment to improved judicial outcomes for women rests upon the fact that the entire institutional apparatus surrounding sexual assault is imbued with the notion that 'doubt' is reasonable. It focuses on aspects of the statutory response to sexual violence, police investigation and medico-legal evidence collection. Through three case studies drawn from the research, the chapter underscores certain of the biased behaviours and requisites practices of those professionals who are tasked with investigating and determining evidence that may support or refute a victim's narrative. First case study uses data and analysis from indepth interviews with 40 police officers. Second case study is drawn from our recent work funded by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research. Thiord case study uses data and analysis from in-depth interviews with 11 forensic medical examiners and nurses.