n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - From stranger to serial : (re)emphasising the value of docket analysis as a linkage tool in serial rape identification

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This article evaluates the use of a rape matrix as a docket analysis tool in a sample of 94 closed and unsolved stranger rape cases reported in Port Elizabeth between 1 January 2007 and 31 January 2008. The study was initiated in January 2009 with the final interviews concluded during November 2013. The primary aim of this research was to determine the value of docket analysis in the identification of possible serial rape activity amongst a sample of unsolved stranger rape cases, and secondary, to analyse and evaluate investigative decision-making in these cases. The sample consisted of cases where a female victim was raped by a single male offender who remained unidentified. This research makes a significant contribution to the field of rape investigation. It does so by demonstrating and explicating the identification of five possible rape series amongst the sample of stranger rape cases that are indicative of serial rape activity. This research also highlights shortcomings in the investigation of these cases, which hamper case linkage. Recommendations are made for more effective investigative strategies, management and identification of serial rape activity amongst stranger rape cases.


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