Raped, Then Jailed: The Risks of Prosecution for Falsely Reporting Sexual Assault

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
December 4, 2019

Sergeant Joanne Archambault (Ret.)
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EVAWI

Sexual assault victims have often faced sources of bias, based on unjustified suspicions that their report is a false allegation. This webinar focuses on the scenario where victims summon the courage to report a sexual assault, only to be disbelieved, mistreated, and later charged (often erroneously) with false reporting or associated crimes such as obstruction of justice, interfering with law enforcement, or providing false statements. This presentation will detail how these scenarios unfold, highlighting factors that distinguish an interview conducted with a victim versus a suspect in a criminal investigation, and we document how this can result in a false confession. We then conclude with a discussion of how this injustice can be prevented, by following recommended practices for sexual assault investigations and victim interviews.


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

  • Describe case scenarios where an individual reports being sexually assaulted to law enforcement, and is ultimately charged with false reporting or associated crimes.
  • Explain the role of coercive interrogation tactics in how these scenarios unfold.
  • Explore the two-phase decision-making process for determining whether prosecution is appropriate for falsely reporting a sexual assault or associated crimes.
  • Identify strategies for preventing the scenario, including best practices for sexual assault investigations, trauma-informed victim interviews, and improved responses by support people.

With a paid registration or subscription, you are free to personally listen to this webinar, as many times as you wish. You may also excerpt or cite the material following accepted conventions. However, you may not allow other individuals to listen to this webinar without their own registration or subscription.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2016-TA-AX-K010 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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