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Offender-centric policing in cases of rape

Rumney, Philip NS; McPhee, Duncan

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Philip NS Rumney


The article explores the idea of ‘offender-centric’ policing in cases of rape, with its focus on suspect and offender admissions and behaviours. It features discussion of 11 cases, illustrating offender-centric pathways to charge or conviction, the challenges facing complainants, suspects and police officers, along with missed opportunities to focus on a suspect’s behaviour. The importance of victim care and support is discussed, and it is argued that victim care should accompany an offender-centric approach to rape investigation. It is also argued that there are potential dangers with offender-centric tactics, specifically, that without due care it may become a self-confirming investigative tool influenced by confirmation bias which may lead to flawed decision-making. The article concludes by arguing that offender-centric policing has benefits in those cases with suspects who engage in predatory behaviour, have a history of previously undisclosed sexual offending and domestic violence and other problematic behaviours. It also has value in focusing the attention of investigators on what steps were taken by a suspect to ascertain the complainant’s consent. While the offender-centric approach cannot address all investigative challenges in rape cases, it is a useful addition to existing strategies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 16, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 2, 2021
Journal The Journal of Criminal Law
Print ISSN 0022-0183
Electronic ISSN 1740-5580
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 85
Issue 6
Pages 425-440
Keywords Rape; sexual assault; police; offenders; investigation
Public URL


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