Barbara Friesen

Date of Award

Fall 12-10-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work

Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 87 pages)


Rape victims -- Legal status laws etc, Administration of Justice -- Citizen participation, Rape victims -- Services for, Rape victims -- Psychological aspects




This dissertation examined the relationship between support services for adult survivors of sexual assault and judicial outcomes. Specifically, this study explored survivors' willingness to participate in the judicial process. Although "victim unwilling to participate" is the primary reason given by the police for cases not progressing to prosecution, we know little about most aspects of survivors' willingness to participate in the judicial process, especially beyond initial reporting of the assault. The steps to prosecution are dependent on one another yet a survivor's willingness to participate in these steps is a fluid process. The primary research question explored was Are there clusters of survivors according to their responses to specific items on a Willingness to Participate scale? Additional research questions focused on differences among possible clusters of survivors. A semi-structured interview protocol was completed with 46 survivors of adult sexual assault. Cluster analysis was conducted and three clusters emerged. Findings suggest that support services were helpful to those who were highly willing to participate but that willingness was insufficient to influence judicial outcomes. Future research concerning judicial outcomes in sexual assault cases should focus on strategies to dispel myths about rape among survivors, within the judicial system, and with potential jurors as a means of improving both survivor participation and judicial outcomes.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Social Work Commons