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Forty years of rape myth acceptance interventions: a systematic review of what works in naturalistic institutional settings and how this can be applied to educational guidance for jurors

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posted on 2022-04-22, 16:12 authored by Lara F Hudspith, Nadia Wager, Dominic WillmottDominic Willmott, Bernard Gallagher
A systematic review of research assessing rape myth acceptance (RMA) interventions within institutional settings was conducted. The aim of this review was to inform the development of an educational intervention for jurors in rape trials that addresses rape myths, given previous evidence that RMA can affect decision-making and verdicts (Dinos et al., 2015; Gravelin et al., 2019; Leverick, 2020). 12 databases were searched, filtered to return peer-reviewed journals, published from 1980 to 2020, written in English. After removing duplicates from the 5,093 search results returned, 2,676 studies were screened for inclusion. Research studies were included in the review if they assessed the impact of a naturalistic intervention on RMA within an institutional setting. Studies that did not compare an experimental condition to a control condition or did not randomly allocate participants to conditions were excluded. Studies were also excluded if they used a non-validated, or adapted, RMA measure. 20 Research studies were included within the review and were critically appraised according to an author-created critical appraisal tool. It was concluded that RMA interventions can have a short-term impact upon individuals' RMA. Intervention types that were effective in reducing RMA included those that presented RM information; those that contained an empathy component; and bystander programmes. With regards to duration and format, short interventions led to reductions in RMA, and most successful interventions were presented via videos. Implications for policy and practice, and recommendations for future research, are discussed.


University of Huddersfield Doctoral Training Alliance Funding



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy

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Trauma, Violence, & Abuse


SAGE Publications


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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by SAGE Publications under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Dom Willmott. Deposit date: 21 April 2022