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Sexual Assault Crimes Training for Law Enforcement Module 1: Dynamics of the Crime & Impacts on the Victim.

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Presentation on theme: "Sexual Assault Crimes Training for Law Enforcement Module 1: Dynamics of the Crime & Impacts on the Victim."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sexual Assault Crimes Training for Law Enforcement Module 1: Dynamics of the Crime & Impacts on the Victim

2 What Do You Already Know? 1

3 What You Will Learn Myths about sexual violence Dynamics of sexual assault Impacts of trauma on victims Impacts on oppressed and underserved populations The difference between recanting and false reporting 2

4 Dynamics of Sexual Violence Offender most often know their victim Most assaults don’t involve weapon, physical violence, or physical injury Very few assaults are reported to law enforcement Sexual assaults are among the least prosecuted crimes 3

5 Force Usually Not Needed Trauma responses leave victims “frozen” and unable take action Offenders target victims who are vulnerable, such as a victim under the influence of drugs or alcohol The “Use of Force Continuum” used by law enforcement is an example of why force isn’t necessary 4

6 ACTIVITY How Many People are Affected? 5

7 Why Are Sexual Assaults Under Reported? Shame Victims, or those close to the victim, often blame themselves for the assault Fear of perpetrator Fear of not being believed Lack of trust in criminal justice system Not wanting to think about what happened Fear of private information becoming public 6

8 ACTIVITY Triggered Reporting 7

9 Most go undetected Most are serial or repeat offenders Serial offenders are often predatory: they identify, manipulate and exploit vulnerabilities Most choose to assault someone they know Many are respected community members 8 What Do We Know About Offenders?

10 Offender Methods Premeditation: test, select, isolate, and groom victims Make the potential victim feel comfortable and able to trust the offender Create situations to build trust May use alcohol or drugs to make the victim more vulnerable 9

11 Post-Assault Contact Some victims may have voluntary contact with their offender in the days, weeks, years after the assault. Why do you think a victim might want to have contact with the offender? 10

12 ACTIVITY One Minute Review 11

13 Common Short-Term Responses to Trauma Perceptual narrowing Dissociation Loss of cognitive and motor skills Critical incident amnesia Discomfort with discussing details Inconsistencies in relaying information, which does NOT mean it’s a false report 12

14 Tonic Immobility Lack of outward physical resistance; inability to scream, control ones body, or flee Internal resistance can include dissociation, self-talk, deciding what to do next Fear of increased risk of injury or death Gender socialization can make women more likely to feel that they have to be subservient to the desires of men 13

15 Trauma Alters Memory Trauma causes the brain to record memory differently A different, more primitive part of the brain is activated - the amygdala Memories are fragmented and intrusive Victims may temporarily forget some details of assault, which may be remembered later 14

16 Always remember to do the following when working with a victim of sexual assault: LISTEN and don’t interrupt Ask for only what they can recall at the moment Be comfortable with pauses Avoid leading questions Let the victim know they can ask for a break Let 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 inaccurate You will be able to sort out an accurate timeline later 15 Trauma Informed Interviewing

17 ACTIVITY What Would You Tell a Colleague about Trauma? 16

18 Oppressed and Underserved Communities What groups or communities commonly experience oppression or are historically underserved? 17


20 Barriers and Added Layers Historically, some populations experience harassment, discrimination, and violence at higher rates. People from these communities may have additional concerns when thinking about reporting their assault to law enforcement. Fear of being treated differently or poorly Fear of having the assault blamed on their identity Fear of public disclosure of their identity or status Mistrust of the criminal justice system based on prior negative experience(s) Reluctance to “betray“ their own community Citizenship status, language barriers, or other challenges 19

21 Offenders Know This Offenders use this knowledge to exploit the vulnerabilities of their victims. Some examples include: An offender who knows their spouse is reliant on their citizenship status An abusive care taker who knows they are responsible for meeting the basic needs of a person with a disability An offender who threatens to share the HIV status of their victim 20

22 Cultural Issues Can Be a Factor Some communities have a fear or mistrust of the police Some religious traditions might impact what or how much a victim discloses about the assault Some communities have had negative interactions with the criminal justice system in the past 21

23 Working with Underserved Populations Show sensitivity Keep in mind that they have likely had a negative experience with a person in a position of power in the past Be mindful about victims’ fears of working with law enforcement 22

24 ACTIVITY Recanting vs. False Reports What are some “red flags” that might lead you to doubt a victim’s account? 23

25 Victim May Give You Information Remember that experiencing trauma can affect memory. Victims might share information that is: Not consistent Not true Not complete But that does NOT mean it’s a false report. 24

26 What is a False Report? did not happen A report of a sexual assault that did not happen; it was not completed or attempted How many false reports are there? 25

27 What is a Recanting? But it does not mean the sexual assault did not take place. When someone recants, they are making a formal retraction of a previously held statement. But it does not mean the sexual assault did not take place. Why might a person recant their initial report of being the victim of a sexual assault? 26

28 Why Victims Might Recant Fear of retaliation by offender Fear about not being believed Hesitancy about participating in the criminal justice system Fear of opening up old wounds from previous trauma Concerns about loss of privacy Threats by the offender, or their family or friends 27

29 ACTIVITY Design a Sample Case 28

30 Checklists to Review on Your Own What to SAY to a Victim During First Response What to SAY to a Victim During the Follow Up Interview What to GIVE a Victim Forensic Exams 29

31 Special Thanks Special 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 Director End 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. 2009-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. 30

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