THE TRANSFORMATION OF TROUBLE: Police Certification and State Compensation of Sexual Assault Claims

JOHN HAGAN*, CHRIS STOCK

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article is concerned with the transformation of private troubles into social and legal problems. It is argued that this transformation process involves a micro‐and macro‐politics of claims‐making. Data are presented on police certification and state compensation of sexual assault claims in a mid western state. The largest urban area in this state is distinguished by the collective claims‐making of antirape activists, and by the resulting presence of a sexual assault treatment center, which we expected would reduce the influence of racial characteristics on police certifications of innocence, while correspondingly increasing the influence of police certifications on the success of compensation claims. Our results confirm the above expectations. An implication of our findings is that black victims of intraracial sexual assaults are more likely to see their compensation claims succeed, and to see their troubles recognized as social and legal problems in those settings where macro‐level antirape efforts have been institutionalized in treatment and/or advocacy centers. More generally, our findings suggest that the transformation of private troubles into social and legal problems can be contingent on collective claims‐making in the context considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-236
Number of pages22
JournalLaw & Policy
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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