What Hinders Victims from Reporting Sexual Violence: A Qualitative Study with Police Officers, Prosecutors, and Judges in Hungary

Abstract

While rape historically remains underreported all over the globe, and criminal justice factors contribute to this problem, we investigate unique circumstances that might influence reporting inclinations by Hungarian victims of sexual violence. Among other possible factors, victim-blaming, institutional desensitization, and a lack of trust in the criminal justice system and in the community are discussed. The in-depth interviews (= 22) with law enforcement and criminal justice professionals conducted in 2018 in Hungary reveal roots of underreporting in the complexities of the criminal justice system: there is a failure to prioritize victims’ needs—mental care services, physical and privacy protection—and a focus instead on solely providing legal justice. The further deficits that can be found among professionals’ attitudes and behaviors in the courtroom are products of the following: a lack of standardized protocols in addressing the needs of victims; a dearth of technical and evidence-based knowledge and training; a lack of supervision and trauma-informed services to practitioners; high caseloads; a focus on the goal of high conviction rates; not providing open communication toward victims; and a shortage of standardized protocols in dealing with victims.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-06-16
Section:Online First
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How to Cite
Parti, K., & Robinson, R. A. (2021). What Hinders Victims from Reporting Sexual Violence: A Qualitative Study with Police Officers, Prosecutors, and Judges in Hungary. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcjsd.1851

Author Biographies

Women and Gender Studies Program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 United States

Katalin Parti is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. A Fulbright and a Max Planck Research Scholar, she studies interpersonal cyber violence, gender, crime, and sexuality, and is Co-PI of the project Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence in Hungary. 

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University
 United States

Robin A. Robinson is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a Resident Scholar at Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center, and a Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.  A Fulbright Research Scholar, she studies trauma, gender, and crime, and is Co-PI of the project Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence in Hungary.