Part 1: Effective Victim Interviewing: Helping Victims Retrieve and Disclose Memories

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 20, 2021

Joanne Archambault
Sergeant Joanne Archambault (Ret.)
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EVAWI
Carlton Hershman
Detective (Ret.), San Diego Police Department

For victims who report sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other traumatic incidents, 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. In this 2-part series, veteran law enforcement investigators apply findings from the scientific research on stress, trauma, and memory, as well as the unique dynamics of sexual assault, to the practical tasks involved with: (a) the initial response and preliminary investigation of a sexual assault report; (b) preparing for and conducting an in-depth victim interview; (c) documentation; and (d) follow-up investigation. Part 1 includes clips from videotaped interviews with sexual assault victims, conducted by an investigator following best practices, including accompaniment by a victim advocate. With dramatic twists and turns, these interviews demonstrate the transformative effect of a good interview conducted by a skilled and compassionate investigator, with discussion centering on recommended practices.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify key strategies to support the victim’s recall and disclosure of traumatic memories in the context of comprehensive investigative interviewing.
  • Describe how coercive interrogation tactics and other inappropriate practices can derail sexual assault victim interviews, investigations, and case outcomes.
  • Apply both scientific and practical knowledge to the tasks of effectively planning, conducting, documenting, and following up on detailed victim interviews.
  • Examine how effective victim interviews fit into the larger context of ever-evolving and evidence-based investigations of sexual assault and other crimes.


EVAWI is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing to provide Continuing Education contact hours for nurses (Provider #15641). 

Registered Nurses may purchase 1.5 contact hours after completing this webinar.

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