n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Towards the demystification of gang rape : an investigative analysis of a sample of closed and unsolved gang rape cases in Port Elizabeth

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article explores the phenomenon of gang rape incidents committed by strangers and makes recommendations for more effective preventative and investigative decision-making. The recommendations are based on empirical results obtained from an analysis of 90 closed and unsolved gang rape cases committed by strangers in Port Elizabeth between January 2007 and January 2008. An established docket analysis tool, referred to as a rape matrix, was used with the specific aims of exploring the value of docket analysis as an investigative tool in gang rape investigations and of gaining an improved understanding of the dynamics of gang rape incidents. Shortcomings were furthermore identified in the investigative decision-making and management of gang rape cases. Finally, the authors attempted to identify patterns and similarities amongst these closed and unsolved gang rape cases which could be indicative of repeat gang rape offenders. The results obtained from the docket analysis make a significant contribution to current knowledge on the dynamics of gang rape incidents and furthermore highlight two distinct patterns which were identified through the content analysis of these cases. This article demystifies some investigative complexities linked with gang rape incidents committed by strangers and highlights high-risk themes within a community-based setting which could prove useful in crime prevention initiatives.

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