Criminal Law

1192. Testimony on Rape Trauma Syndrome

You have heard testimony from <insert name of expert> regarding rape trauma syndrome.

______'s <insert name of expert> testimony about rape trauma syndrome is not evidence that the defendant committed any of the crimes charged against (him/her).

You may consider this evidence only in deciding whether or not ______'s <insert name of alleged rape victim> conduct was not inconsistent with the conduct of someone who has been raped, and in evaluating the believability of her testimony.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction if an expert testifies on rape trauma syndrome. (See People v. Housley (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 947, 958-959 [8 Cal.Rptr.2d 431] [sua sponte duty in context of child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (CSAAS)]; CJER Mandatory Criminal Jury Instructions Handbook (CJER 10th ed. 2001) sua sponte Instructions, § 2.132; but see People v. Sanchez (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 721, 736 [256 Cal.Rptr. 446] [instruction on CSAAS only required on request].)

Related Instructions

If this instruction is given, also give CALCRIM No. 303, Limited Purpose Evidence in General, and CALCRIM No. 332, Expert Witness Testimony.


Rebut Inference That Victim's Conduct Inconsistent With Claim of Rape. People v. Bledsoe (1984) 36 Cal.3d 236, 247-248 [203 Cal.Rptr. 450, 681 P.2d 291].

Syndrome Evidence Not Admissible to Prove Rape Occurred. People v. Bledsoe (1984) 36 Cal.3d 236, 251 [203 Cal.Rptr. 450, 681 P.2d 291].

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Opinion Evidence, § 52.

3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 71, Scientific and Expert Evidence, § 71.04[1][d][v][B] (Matthew Bender).

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 142, Crimes Against the Person, § 142.23[3][d] (Matthew Bender).


It is unnecessary and potentially misleading to instruct that the expert testimony assumes that a rape has in fact occurred. (See People v. Gilbert (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 1372, 1387 [7 Cal.Rptr.2d 660] [in context of child molestation].)

(New January 2006)