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Understanding Complainant Credibility in Rape Appeals: A Case Study of High Court Judgments and Judges’ Perspectives in India

Event information

START DATE 7 May 2015
START TIME 12:00pm
LOCATION Barn 1, Middlesex University, Hendon campus, The Burroughs, Hendon, London, NW4 4BT

Prof Ravinder Barn of Royal Holloway University of London presents a case study of High Court judgments and judges’ perspectives in India

Despite the growing number of reported cases of rape and sexual assault against women in India, there is an insufficient understanding of the perspectives and responses of the Indian Criminal Justice System in general and the judiciary in particular. 

By employing a framework of 'complainant credibility', this paper examines High Court judgments and judges' perspectives in rape appeals. In placing a robust and systematic focus on one aspect of the Indian jurisdiction, this paper sheds light on how competing realities are understood by the judiciary to inform decision making about complainant credibility and suspect's guilt in affirming or overturning trial court decisions.


Ravinder Barn is Professor of Social Policy in the Centre for Criminology and Sociology, School of Law, Royal Holloway University of London. She is an experienced mixed-methods researcher with a particular interest in child and family welfare; gender and crime; youth justice, and the sociology of technology. 

As Principal Investigator, she has successfully led on a number of externally funded research studies for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the former Commission for Racial Equality, the Canadian High Commission, and the Department of Health. Her research is empirically and theoretically grounded and key findings are disseminated to a wide variety of potential beneficiaries ranging from academic researchers, central and local government, international organisations including the Council of Europe and the European Union, and third sector organisations.

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