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The influence of gender and sexist attitudes on juror verdicts and perceptions of domestic violence in heterosexual relationships

Bray, Natasha (2011) The influence of gender and sexist attitudes on juror verdicts and perceptions of domestic violence in heterosexual relationships. University of Glamorgan.

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Abstract

This study investigates the impact of juror gender, perpetrator and victim gender and sexist attitudes on verdict decisions and perceptions in an ambiguous domestic violence case between heterosexual partners. Mock jurors read 1 of 2 case summaries in which the gender of the victim and perpetrator varied. Female jurors were found to be more likely to give a guilty verdict, view the offence more seriously and place less blame on the victim. Data also revealed that participants were more likely to find female perpetrators not guilty after a deliberation scenario and more likely to allocate them suspended sentences, whereas male perpetrators were more likely to be given prison sentences. Female-perpetrated violence was viewed as significantly less serious. Male victims are less likely to be believed and blamed more than female victims. Hostile sexists view the offence as less serious than non-sexists. Those high in benevolence towards men viewed the offence as less serious, the victim as more responsible and recommended lenient sentences for the perpetrator. Results suggest a chivalrous attitude towards female perpetrators and victims and a gender bias against male perpetrators and victims in the criminal justice system.

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