Presentation on theme: "Victims & Suspects are not the Same!. Victims Interview: Crucial Evidence The Investigation of a Sexual Assault is unlike any other type of Criminal Investigation."— Presentation transcript:
Victims Interview: Crucial Evidence The Investigation of a Sexual Assault is unlike any other type of Criminal Investigation due to the uniquely intimate and invasive nature of the crime. Your victim is your crime scene. Therefore the victim interview is one of the most important pieces of evidence that you will have in your case Mishandling the interview can irreparably damage your case.
There is NO TYPICAL Victim Behavior Delayed Reporting Contact with Suspect AFTER Offense Inconsistencies Previous Claims of Victimization Lies About Behavior Reports to Someone other than Law Enforcement Indifferent to Injuries or Pain
Victim Behavior Flat Crying Laughing ALL are behaviors LE has seen and ACCEPTED before at traumatic accident and death scenes…………………….
Interview vs Interrogation Interview is: Non – Accusatory Investigator is Neutral and Objective Goal is to Gather Information that is Relevant to the Investigation. Investigator Endeavors to Reassure and Gain the Trust of the Victim Open-ended questions, free flowing format
Interrogation is: Accusatory Goal is to learn the truth, gain confession Tightly structured, active persuasion on the part of the Investigator repetitious Dialogue Investigator Dominated Mind Game
Why Interview? The role of the rape advocate is to believe a victims story, whereas the role of a police officer is to prove it Detective Scott Keenan Chicago Police Dept. By corroborating as many facts as possible, no matter how insignificant they may seem, you can better help establish the validity of the victims story and improve her credibility even when there are other problems with the investigation.
Police Placed Obstacles to Interviewing Sexual Assault Victims Asking for JUST THE FACTS The Police Personality The Tough – Guy Façade The Police Career Path
Just the Facts Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How: Not Enough! By Asking Basic Questions, You only get Basic Facts Close ended question, get close ended answers Thoughtful, Open-ended Questions, get the small details so important to this type of Investigation
The Police Personality Very Action Oriented Get to the Point! Solve the Problem Move On to the next Problem Good on the Street, Not in the interview Room!!
Tough-Guy Facade Sexual Assault Cases are Emotional in Nature for EVERYONE! We Distance ourselves to Survive Helps to Maintain Control of Ourselves This becomes a Huge Barrier between Investigator and Victim
Police Career Path Many Officers Interview Skills learned on Patrol In the Trenches New Investigators not trained in Interview Techniques They are Trained in Interrogation Techniques
Golden Rule: First, Do No Harm……… All possible efforts should always be made to minimize potential further trauma to the victim Effective Interviewing
Setting the Interview Stage 1. Select an appropriate location Safe and Comfortable Private and Distraction Free Maintain an Equal or Inferior Position to the Victim Allow her to have some Control over her Surroundings
Setting the Stage 2. Ask the victim if she would like anyone to be present during the interview Should be determined Privately with the Victim Potential Witnesses must be Excluded Always include a Support Person when requested
Setting the Stage 3. Explain the purpose of the interview Purpose is to gather evidence and information, NOT TO PLACE BLAME OR JUDGEMENT!! There will be questions that the victim does not have the answers to. The victim DOES NOT have to make any immediate decisions about whether to prosecute or not
Setting the Stage 4. Present yourself in an accepting and compassionate manner. Acknowledge the Trauma and Seriousness of what she has been through: I am sorry that this happened to you. Allow her to vent, even if it is at YOU Demonstrate empathy. Help the Victim to regain some control. NEVER SAY, I know how you feel because you dont. Calm and reassuring vocal tones
Techniques: Creating and Maintaining an Open Interview 1. Explaining the Questions: Explaining questions dealing with sensitive issues helps your victims fears at ease. Use the law to explain why you need specific, detailed information about what happened. Reassure her that your asking about high risk behavior does not mean that you doubt her story.
Techniques: Creating and Maintaining an Open Interview Eye Contact Use Inviting Body Language Avoid Touching the Victim Physical Techniques
Techniques: Creating and Maintaining an Open Interview 3. Use of Sexual Language. Avoid using Police Terminology. Clarify any slang terms that the victim uses to ensure that you understand what they mean. Mimic terms used by the victim without acting shocked or embarrassed by them.
Techniques: Creating and Maintaining an Open Interview 4. Engage in Active Listening. Without interrupting the flow of the narrative, try to interject comments that let her know that you are listening. Encourage the Victim to continue talking while knowing that she is being heard.
The Victims Narrative The victims narrative is the most vital part of the investigation. Begin by asking the victim to tell you in her own words and at her own pace, what happened. You can facilitate the interview while allowing the victim to tell her own story by: 1. Using open-ended prompts. 2. Allowing the victim to control the pace. 3. Avoiding leading questions.
After the Initial Narrative Go back and clarify specific points. Open ended follow-up questions. Explore small details, such as the color of the interior of the car, or the color of the carpet in the room. Again, continue to move at her pace, using soft, soothing voice tones. Remember, small details will help corroborate her story when he says it didnt happen the way she said.
Information Gained during the Interview Essential Elements to be Collected during the Interview: Description of the victims behavior and relationship with the defendant Description of the suspects behavior. Documentation of the specific acts committed and whether any acts were repeated. Description of the suspects sexual behavior. Establishing force or threat of force.
Concluding the Interview Ask the victim of she has any additional information that she wants to report. Ask the victim if she has any questions of you concerning what is happening or what is going to happen. Reassure you are on her side and will do everything possible to help her. Explain to her the next step of the investigation. Provide her with good contact information for you. THANK HER for her patience and cooperation.
Departmental Responsibility in Sexual Assault Response Selection of Best Personnel for Sexual Assault Response. Written Policy and Procedure for Sexual Assault Response. Provide the Best Possible Training for Newly Assigned Personnel. Provide On-going Training for Veteran Personnel.
SART APPROACH Realize that prosecution is NOT always the ultimate goal Recognize the needs of the victim Her Strengths, Her Weaknesses, Listen to her input and wishes And what is BEST for her What does success look like in this case?
SART and Your Community Educate your community Dispel the Myths of Sexual Assault Therefore; you educate your Jury Pool Lead by Example Loose the tough cop attitude No more, Is this a real rape or another waste of my time BELIEVE first……………. Set the tone and culture of your agency and community
Contact Information Michael L. Milnor Senior Supervisory Investigator/Polygraph Examiner Campbell County Sheriffs Office Office # 434 332-9707 Cell# 434 665-1843 Email: MLMilnor@co.campbell.va.us
Acknowledgements and Sources Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault Interview or Interrogation?: A Comment on Kassin et al. J.P. Blair