Presentation on theme: "What Do You Already Know?"— Presentation transcript:
0 Sexual Assault Crimes Training for Law Enforcement Module 2:Interviewing Victims &Effective Report Writing
1 What Do You Already Know? ACTIVITYWhat Do You Already Know?
2 What You Will LearnConsiderations for working with sexual assault victims and witnesses in preliminary and follow up interviewsBarriers to effective interviewingReport writing techniques that support the successful prosecution of cases
3 ACTIVITYWhat is the single most important factor in determining success of interviews with sexual assault victims?How long should you wait before holding the first interview?
4 Who is Present for the Interview? Victim and OfficerVictim Advocate, if victim wishesAsk victim privately about other support peopleDo not include witnesses in interview with victim (even if they are supportive)
5 Conducting the Interview Ask the victim where they would like to do interviewReassure the victim it’s not their faultSit down if possible and try to respect the physical space a victim might wantUse smooth movements and a calm voice; try to express patience, friendliness, and support
6 Ask Victim to Describe Experiences in Their Own Words Ask the victim to describe the assault, listing as many details and feelings as possibleAsk what the environment was like - what did they see/ hear/ feel/ smell/ taste?Document what “no” looked like and when – note all verbal AND non-verbal lack of consentIf a consensual encounter turned non-consensual, ask about how and when the perpetrator's behavior changedAdd that you can start by asking the victim to describe parts of the body, and then reflect their language back to them – make sure you are truly communicating- Match the victim’s words describing various sex acts, but make sure you understand one another
7 Use Open-Ended Prompts Try using the following questions to guide your conversation:And then what happened?Tell me what you were thinking at that point.Tell me what you were feeling when the offender did that.What can you remember saying and doing?
8 Allow Information to Flow for the Victim Always remember to do the following when working with a victim of sexual assault:LISTEN and don’t interruptAsk for only what they can recall at the momentBe comfortable with pausesAvoid leading questionsLet the victim know they can ask for a breakLet the victim know it’s okay to say “I don’t know”Keep in mind that information gathered following experiencing a trauma may come out in spurts, be out of order, or be inaccurateKeep in mind that you will be able to sort out an accurate timeline later
9 Common Responses to Trauma Perceptual narrowingLoss of cognitive and motor skillsCritical incident amnesiaDiscomfort with discussing detailsInconsistencies in relaying information; however, it does not mean it’s a false report
10 Allow Victim to Take the Lead Allow the victim to focus on one topic until the mental picture becomes clear and the retrieved information completeSilence allows the victim to collect their thoughtsUse natural pauses to ask questions and clarify – “Do I have that right?”Write down your own questions for the follow up interview
11 Additional Challenges for Victims Possible illegal activity – drug or underage alcohol useStatus in oppressed or underserved groupsImmigration status issuesCultural issues can affect victim reactions
12 Working with Under-Served Populations Show sensitivityKeep in mind they have likely had a negative experience with a person in a position of power in the pastBe mindful about victims’ fears of working with law enforcement
13 Victim May Give You Information Remember that experiencing trauma can affect memory. Victims might share information that is:Not consistentNot trueNot completeBut that does NOT mean it’s a false report.
14 Purpose of Follow Up Interview Gather additional information and clarify any questions – not to go over the same material again
15 Arranging Follow Up Interview Make sure victim has had adequate rest before the second interviewAsk where victim would like to conduct interview - where victim feels safeAssist with transportation if neededContact a Victim Advocate if victim wishes (if this hasn’t happened already)
16 Explain Process to the Victim Explain that other people will be reading reportRemind victim it wasn’t their faultExplain that we need to clarify any inconsistencies so that other people who read the report will understand what happenedExplain why you are asking about specific details about sex acts or other issues - for example, to meet legal requirements to show a sexual assault occurred
17 Additional Items to Address Let victim know it’s better if they disclose any illegal activity sooner – helps their credibilityAddress victim concerns about prosecutionDon’t ask victim whether they want to participate in prosecution yet – wait until end of investigationExplain next steps in the processReassure that assault wasn’t their fault
19 ACTIVITYWhat are the barriers to effective interviewing of sexual assault victims?
20 Report Writing Purpose is to support successful prosecution Recreate reality of what happened from perspective of victimReminder: Lack of consent is communicated through more than just words – victims look away, close eyes, position or move their body as strategies to survive the assault
21 Document Victim’s Experience Record what victim was thinking and feeling:BeforeDuringAfter the assaultPreserve any slang or street terms victim uses – important not to “clean up” for the report (but be sure you and victim are communicating clearly)
22 Use Language of Non-Consensual Sex Use words that describe parts of the body:Forced penis into vagina (instead of “sexual intercourse”Forced tongue into vagina or penis into mouth (instead of “oral sex”)Hand on victim’s breast (instead of “fondle” or “caress”)
23 Include in the Report Grooming behavior by offender Context of fear, force, threat, coercion and/or inability to consent by the victimVictim’s experience of tonic immobilityEnvironment in which assault took place – isolation, sound proofingEvidence of verbal and/or physical resistance from the victim
24 More Elements to Include Factors increasing victim’s vulnerability (youth, inexperience, subordinate position, immigration status)Evidence of genital and/or non-genital injuryChanges in routine habits after assault (such as dramatic weight gain/loss)Relevant electronic evidence – text messages, Facebook posts, etc.
25 DocumentationBe sure to document ALL information from the victim, even if it doesn’t cast them in a positive lightLook for ways to document the victim’s behaviors and state of mind before and after assault – how did the victim change?Find out who the victim told following the assault; often called the “outcry witness”
26 One Sentence Summary on Report Writing ACTIVITYOne Sentence Summary on Report Writing
27 ACTIVITY Review of Learning Compare and contrast the knowledge and assumptions you had about investigations and report writing with what you know now.Use the worksheet to write down some comparisons.- Use “Review of Learning” worksheet. If there is time, have learners share a couple of examples.
28 Checklists to Review on Your Own What to SAY to a Victim During First ResponseWhat to SAY to a Victim During the Follow Up InterviewWhat to GIVE a VictimForensic Exams - Victims and SuspectsReminders for Report Writing for Sexual Assault Crimes
29 Special ThanksSpecial thanks to Joanne Archambault, End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI). Foundational material in this module is based on concepts and information found in the Online Training Institute developed by EVAWI. For more information, please contact:Joanne Archambault, Executive DirectorEnd Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)This module was produced by Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS) in collaboration with the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POSTC) and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) through the support of subgrant No WF-AX-0019 awarded by the state administrating office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.