Attrition in Child Sexual Assault Cases: Why Lord Chief Justice Hale Got It Wrong

Eastwood, Christine J., Kift, Sally M., & Grace, Rachel (2006) Attrition in Child Sexual Assault Cases: Why Lord Chief Justice Hale Got It Wrong. Journal of Judicial Administration, 16(2), pp. 81-91.

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Successful criminal prosecutions for sexual offences against children are more difficult to secure than for any other offence. Sexual assault defendants are less likely than other defendants to plead guilty, less likely to proceed to trial, and more likely to be acquitted. Nevertheless, four centuries after Lord Hale expressed the view that accusations of rape are easily made and hard to refute, the adage is still repeated as though it were established truth in contemporary court decisions and by 21st century lawyers. While there is widespread agreement in the research literature about the entrenched difficulties in child sexual assault cases, the underlying reasons for the low conviction rate are less well understood. It is argued that socio-legal, systemic and child-related factors may contribute to the high attrition rate in child sexual assault cases. The need for further research is discussed.

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ID Code: 7438
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 1036-7918
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Criminal Law and Procedure (180110)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Thomson Legal & Regulatory
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 08 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:23

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