For victims who report sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other traumatic crimes, the purpose of an investigative interview is to help them: (1) retrieve details of the traumatic event from memory, and (2) disclose those details to the investigator. Yet all too often sexual assault victims have faced unjustified suspicion that their report is a false allegation.
Investigators must understand that crime scenes include elements that are probative to an investigation, as well as aspects that are irrelevant, unclear, or even contradictory. In other words, they do not present facts in a linear or logical way – nor do they outline how the information and evidence fit together to corroborate the elements of a criminal offense. Rather, investigators collect and document evidence from the crime scene, and then through analysis, evaluation, and further investigative steps, they piece together an understanding of what happened. The same is true for victim interviews. After helping victims to recall and share details about their sexual assault, investigators must piece these details together with other information and evidence, to compile a linear and evidence-based account of the crime.
Comprehensive Victim Interviews are critical to this information-gathering process, and they require a great deal of work by investigators before, during, and after the interview.
As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:
- Conduct an initial interview and preliminary investigation.
- Plan, prepare, and conduct an in-depth victim interview.
- Document victim statements and other investigative findings.
- Facilitate additional interviews as needed during an evolving investigation.
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