Much debate exists regarding the frequency of rape-homicides in the United States each year, with reported figures ranging from 0.1% to 17% of homicides having a rape component. California statistics showed that rape was identified as a circumstance of homicide in only 0.1% of cases, which could be due to several factors. This study collected information on the investigation and autopsy practices regarding female homicide victims (aged 18 and over) in California to determine whether cases of rape-homicide are overlooked due to differences in procedure, if there was variability across pathologists' examinations of suspected rape-homicide cases, and the nature of any variability. Information was collected via a survey distributed to forensic pathologists across California via email and regular mail. Of 29 surveys distributed, 19 responses were completed and valid for use, yielding a 68% return rate. Results showed a wide range of variability in pathologists' practices in female homicide cases and some inconsistencies reported in the study. Overall, this study illustrated a lack of standardization of practice in the California death investigation system with regard to the investigation of rape-homicide. This could be contributing to the low number of female homicides with a rape component reported in the state.
|Advisor:||Panacek, Edward A.|
|Commitee:||Green, William M., Sensabaugh, George F.|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||California, Forensic pathology, Forensic science, Homicide, Rape, Sexual assault|
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