The Sexual Stratification Hypothesis: Is the Decision to Arrest Influenced by the Victim/Suspect Racial/Ethnic Dyad?

Eryn Nicole O’Neal, Laura O. Beckman, Cassia Spohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The sexual stratification hypothesis suggests that criminal justice responses to sexual victimization will differ depending on the victim/suspect racial/ethnic dyad. Previous research examining the sexual stratification hypothesis has primarily focused on court processes, and the small body of literature examining arrest decisions is dated. There remains substantial opportunity for testing the sexual stratification hypothesis at response stages apart from the court level (i.e., arrest). Using quantitative data on 655 sexual assault complaints that were reported to the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department (LASD) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 2008, this study examines the effect of the victim/suspect racial/ethnic dyad on the decision to arrest. Findings suggest that police consider the victim/suspect racial/ethnic dyad when making arrest decisions. In addition, victim characteristics, strength of evidence indicators, and measures of case factors predict the police decision to make an arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1287-1310
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • ethnicity
  • police arrest decisions
  • race
  • sexual assault case processing
  • sexual stratification hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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