He Said, She Said, They Said: The Influence of Sex and Gender on Victim Credibility


  • Alex Tiller MacEwan University


Studies have demonstrated that gender minorities experience heightened rates of physical and sexual violence victimization relative to cisgendered persons, however little is known regarding how these victims are perceived by prospective jurors. The present study will utilize a between subject multivariate design evaluating measures of victim credibility and perpetrator guilt. Victims in an ambiguous assault trial will be depicted as either cisgender, transgender, or non- binary, which will vary according to their biological sex (i.e., female, male, no biological information), gender identity (woman, man, non-binary), and type of assault involved (sexual or physical). Participant gender identity also will be considered, with the goal of obtaining a broader sample of non-binary persons by including both student and community sampling methods. All participants will read a fictitious trial transcript and complete a case judgment questionnaire (as mock jurors). Measures of participant bias in relation to gender and sexual identity also will be included, such as the Gender Queer Identity Scale and the Attitudes Towards Transgender Men and Women Scale. We anticipate that non-binary and transgender victims of sexual assault will be rated as less credible than their binary, cisgendered peers. With regards to physical assault, we anticipate that the perception of non-binary and transgender individuals will not influence victim credibility. This study informs our understanding of the influence of biased perceptions on the credibility of sexual and physical assault victims.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristine Peace