Medical, legal and lay understandings of physical evidence in rape cases (Evidently Rape)

The convergence environment wants to study how physical evidence matters and can matter in how the crime of rape is met by medical and criminal justice institutions.

Project leader: May-Len Skilbrei, Professor and Head of Department, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, Faculty of Law, UiO

Principal investigators:


Medical, legal and lay understandings of physical evidence in rape cases (EVIDENTLY RAPE) study how physical evidence matters and can be a factor in how medical and criminal justice institutions approach the crime of rape.

EVIDENTLY RAPE builds on the starting assumption that the production of medical and legal facts is co-constitutive. Law and policing practices influence what physical evidence is harvested for testing and how it is harvested; medical expertise and methodologies then transform evidence into medical and forensic facts to be applied in the investigation and prosecution of crime.

The different sub-projects of EVIDENTLY RAPE offer a specialised analysis of what happens along every step of the way in this process, and, taken together, investigate the process as a whole with the travel, translation and transformation of physical evidence the process entails.

Primary objective

EVIDENTLY RAPE’s main aim is to produce knowledge that improves our understanding, but also the working, of the criminal justice process.

Secondary objectives

The example is the investigation and prosecution of cases of rape, and the project will achieve this aim (1) by exploring the interaction between law and medicine in investigations, (2) by improving tools for interpreting and communicating forensic evidence, (3), by investigating how medical knowledge is transposed into the criminal justice process, and (4) by analyzing how legal and lay representatives in the criminal justice process interpret and utilize medical knowledge.


The project includes four UiO research milieus:

  • the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law (Prof. May-Len Skilbrei and Prof. Heidi Mork Lomell)
  • the Department of Public and International Law (Prof. Ragnhild Hennum)
  • the Institute of Health and Society (Prof. Kari Nyheim Solbrække)
  • and the Institute for Forensic Medicine (Professor II Peter Gill and Researcher Ane Elida Fonneløp).

The consortium also includes external institutions and experts: 

  • The Norwegian Police University College, associate professor Johanne Yttri Dahl
  • Linköping University, senior lecturer Corinna Kruse

  • The Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universität Zürich.
  • Oslo Metropolitan University, research professor Kari Stefansen
  • Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich, Sharron FitzGerald
  • Law School, University of Warwick, Vanessa Munro
Published Mar. 26, 2019 10:32 AM - Last modified Feb. 28, 2020 9:03 AM