Differences Between Rape Victims Who Report and Those Who Do Not Report to a Public Agency1


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    This research was supported by Grant 1R01 MH27830–01 from the National Institute of Mental Health to the first author.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Shirley Feldman-Summers, 3245 Fairview Avenue E., Suite 301, Seattle, WA 98102.


The purpose of this study was to identify the variables that predict whether or not a rape victim will report to either a social service agency and/or the police. One hundred seventy-nine female rape victims who either reported or did not report completed a questionnaire that assessed (1) perceived outcomes of reporting a rape, (2) social expectations to report or not report, (3) individual characteristics of the victim, and (4) situational characteristics of the rape. Perceived outcomes, social expectations, and certain situational characteristics effectively predicted reporting behavior. Theoretical explanations for the findings and implications for increasing the likelihood that victims will report are discussed.