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The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

On-line version ISSN 1989-4007Print version ISSN 1889-1861


ZUTTER, André W.E.A. De; HORSELENBERG, Robert  and  KOPPEN, Peter J. van. Filing false vice reports: Distinguishing true from false allegations of rape. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context [online]. 2017, vol.9, n.1, pp.1-14. ISSN 1989-4007.

False allegations constitute a problem since they may cause harm. To study the difference between true and false allegations we used a quasi-experimental approach. In the control condition likely true allegations were retrieved from criminal files. The victims, all female, were between the ages of 17 and 53 (M = 28.0, SD = 10.6). In the experimental condition women were invited to file a false allegation. Participants, all female, in the experimental conditions were between the ages of 18 and 52 (M = 28.0, SD = 10.6). We constructed a list of 187 variables based on our theory of fabricated rape. All items in the list were coded dichotomously. All variables that were coded as ‘present’ within cases were summed to obtain a total score; an independent t-test was used. The results of the control condition (N = 30) were compared with the experimental condition (N = 35) by use of chi-square tests. A Holm-Bonferoni method with Šidák correction was used to correct for the increased family-wise error rate. The independent t-test showed a significant difference between the mean number of present-coding of likely true allegations, (M = 59.13, SD = 11.00) and of false allegations (M = 35.74, SD = 9.33), t(63) = 9.28, p < .0001, d = 2.34. Thus, significantly more variables were coded ‘present’ in likely true allegations. Fabricated stories of rape lack pseudo-intimate behavior and a wide variety of sexual acts. Also, in almost all fabricated stories of rape the attack was completed in less than 15 minutes while in likely true allegations the attack sometimes took over 60 minutes before it was completed. In conclusion, true and false allegations diverge from each other in essentials of the story told by the complainant. The differences could be used to predict the true nature of a rape allegation.

Keywords : Rape; Allegation; True; False; Characteristics.

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