Critical Criminology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 189–209 | Cite as

“I Think It’s Re-Victimizing Victims Almost Every Time”: Police Perceptions of Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Violence

  • Dale Spencer
  • Alexa Dodge
  • Rose Ricciardelli
  • Dale Ballucci


Criminal justice responses to sexual violence have long been critiqued for either failing or further victimizing complainants. The ways that police can be complicit in these shortcomings is well documented, but less is known about how police officers themselves identify and understand the barriers to justice within the criminal justice system. In this article, we use data from 70 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups with sex crime investigators to explore police interpretations of the obstacles to achieving justice in cases of sexual violence. Our findings demonstrate that the majority of officers are critical of the present criminal justice response to sexual violence and are doubtful of its ability to provide a semblance of justice to the majority of victims.



Funded by SSHRC Insight Development Grant competition (2015) and Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (2016).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Ethics Clearance

This research received clearance from the Carleton University Research Ethics board (Protocol #: 102701).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Law and Legal StudiesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Memorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  3. 3.Western UniversityLondonCanada

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