A number of factors are known to influence the progression of sexual crimes through the criminal justice system. The role of victim injury in influencing decision-making at pivotal stages has been addressed by a number of separate research projects. This article consolidates existing research evidence in order to highlight the important role that victim injury plays at each step of the legal process. The importance of accurate diagnosis and recording of victim injury is highlighted. Furthermore, by describing the significant impact that the presence of victim injury can have on the legal outcome, the importance of ensuring that cases without victim injury are correctly interpreted by the police, legal professionals, judiciary and the jury is heavily emphasised. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.