Police Officers' Rape Myth Acceptance: Examining the Role of Officer Characteristics, Estimates of False Reporting, and Social Desirability Bias

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This study examines police officers' perceptions of sexual assault and those who report sexual assault to the police, using a revised version of the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale along with a measure of social desirability bias. The study includes survey responses from 174 officers from 1 mid-sized police department in the Great Lakes region. Results show low to moderate levels of rape myth acceptance scores on the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale, with highest scores related to victim lying. Officers report very high estimates of false reporting, indicating some rape myth acceptance. Officer level of education, rank, and estimates of false reporting influence rape myth acceptance; however, social desirability bias is an important explanatory factor. Implications for measurement and training are discussed.

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