Negative 'old' police attitudes and practices towards rape victims is still very much part of modern day policing. Critically assess the evidence available to support this statement.

Essay by italiantoni January 2005

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Today, far too many rape victims continue to encounter the old sexist and racist responses to rape from family, friends, acquaintances, and even the police. This is not to say that practices are not changing. Today our society is in the midst of making great changes in its understanding of the injuries and injustices of rape victims. Only a generation ago, as recently as 1970, there were no rape crisis centers and no national studies on rape. Police rarely took reports, rape victims rarely got justice, and rape was almost always considered the fault of the victim. These negative outcomes were largely the result of negative 'old' police attitudes rooted in police culture and practices towards rape victims. Throughout this essay I plan to examine the concept of police culture and the effect it has concerning rape victims and the attitudes police take in dealing with rape cases. I will be looking at past police negative attitudes and practices regarding rape and evaluating whether these still exist.

Police culture

Policing is one of the world's most masculinised occupations. Policing originally grew from a military background in the nineteenth century. Police drew from army corps or militia for its first recruits and adapted a military model for its uniform, its promotional structure and its culture. It is still evident today how some police forces continue to be strictly hierarchical organisations with deeply sexist views about women. It is clear to see that policing not only has a distinctive culture, but that the symbols of policing for example its formal organisational structures and informal practices are mainly male and white. One of the significant factors in fashioning policing from a military model is the requirement, on occasions, to use force. This has influenced the requirements for a disciplined structure, style of...