The Decision to Arrest in Sexual Assault Case Processing: A Test of Black’s Theory of the Behavior of Law

Norah Ylang, Kristy Reisig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Past research applying Donald Black’s theory of the behavior of law to sexual assault case processing has focused on victim decisions to report the crime to the police. This study builds on and extends prior research by examining the next stage of legal mobilization (i.e., arrest). Using secondary data on 310 cases from the 1982-2012 Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Study in Los Angeles, California, the current study explores the effects of victim, offender, and case characteristics on arrest. The results suggest limited support for the theory in this victimization context. Implications for theory, research, and criminal justice practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalViolence Against Women
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • arrest decisions
  • behavior of law
  • police investigations
  • sexual assault
  • sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

Cite this