Is Jury Bias Preventing Justice For Rape Victims?

Dominic Willmott

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    Despite many people assuming rape is committed by strangers lurking in a dark alleyway, statistics show the vast majority of rapes – around 90% – are committed by people already known to the victim. Of these, 56% are committed by a partner or ex-­partner, making what’s termed “acquaintance” and “domestic” rapes much more prevalent than those committed by strangers. As part of the research, we examined jurors psychological makeup by analysing their responses to attitudinal and personality assessments – to see whether these aspects also had any effect upon the verdicts jurors returned. Results reveal that attitudes towards rape, interpersonal interactions – such as the need to be in control or included – and egocentricity (one aspect of a new measure of psychopathy, all appear to be somewhat predictive of the verdicts jurors will choose. People who score highly on these tests appear to be more predisposed towards “not guilty” verdicts. This means the attitudes and personality traits jurors bring with them to trial, appear to have a much more of an influence and biasing effect upon the collective verdict returned than has previously been accepted. Implications for verdict outcomes, English law and procedural amendments discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationThe Conversation
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'Is Jury Bias Preventing Justice For Rape Victims?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this