An Investigation into the experiences of male victims of serious sexual offences and perception of Sexual Offence Investigative Techniques officers (SOITs) (working title)

Research Institution / Organisation

Canterbury Christ Church University

Principal Researcher

Kathryn Phillips

Level of Research


Project Start Date

October 2019

Research Context

This research intends to assess the experiences of male victims of serious adult sexual offences (defined by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 within Sections 1 – 4) in reporting their victimisation to the police, specifically in relation to Sexual Offence Investigative Techniques (SOIT) officers. These officers are specialist officers assigned to liaise with victims over the course of a sexual offence investigation, to ensure they are fully supported and understand the process of reporting to the police. Sections 1 – 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 are considered the most serious adult offences i.e. rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault, and causing a person to engage in sexual activity. Victims of these offences are the most likely to have been assigned a SOIT officer. SOIT officers hold a unique place within the police, their primary responsibility being to support victims. Consequently, they have the most interaction with victims, and so potentially the most insight into the police response to victims. This is, however, a gap within current academic research and knowledge.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether there are areas of improvement for the police in their response to male victims of sexual offences and to devise suggestions for policy, practice and procedure which may be changed to promote the best possible response. In addition, this research will fill a gap within academic research concerning both interactions between male victims and the police, and training provided to SOIT officers. Both areas of research are severely lacking, with little research relating specifically to police interaction, or to SOIT officer training within the last ten years, during which time there have been major changes in SOIT training and policing overall.

Research Methodology

Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with SOIT officers within England and/or Wales, and male survivors will be asked to complete a questionnaire. SOIT officers will be asked questions relating to their SOIT training, day-to-day work and experiences with male victims reporting to the police. Male survivors who reported to the police will be asked about their experiences of SOIT officers and the police overall, and their recommendations to the police to improve practice. Those male survivors who have not reported to the police will be asked about their decision not to do so, as well as any experiences they have had concerning support services. 

Date due for completion

November 2021
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