Statistics indicate an ongoing decline in the conviction rate for rape in England and Wales. Concerned by this, the Government has introduced proposals to allow prosecutors to present general expert evidence witness testimony concerning the psychological impact of rape. The declared aim of this is to overcome one of the major obstacles facing prosecutors in rape cases, namely the tendency of defence lawyers to portray the 'normal' behaviour of complainants as 'unusual' or inconsistent with a genuine complaint, by educating jurors about the diverse and complex reactions people may exhibit to such events. In particular, it has been suggested that expert testimony could be used to explain: delay in reporting, failure to resist assault, narrative inconsistency and calm demeanour post-assault.
This initiative is based on two key assumptions:
The aim of this project is to subject both these assumptions to empirical scrutiny through the use of a series of mini-trial reconstructions involving actors, barristers and volunteer mock jurors.
Author: Louise Ellison Date: 01 September 2010 Journal article
Author: Louise Ellison Date: 01 March 2010 Journal article
Author: Louise Ellison Date: 01 September 2009 Journal article
Author: Vanessa Munro Date: 15 May 2009 Full research report
Author: Vanessa Munro Date: 15 May 2009 Research summary
Author: Vanessa Munro Date: 01 January 2009 Technical report
Author: Louise Ellison Date: 01 January 2009 Journal article
Author: Vanessa Munro Date: 15 December 2008 Article (submitted)