December 4, 2019
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.
- PowerPoint Handout
- Training Bulletin: Raped, Then Jailed
- Training Bulletin: Interviews with Victims vs. Suspects
- Training Module: False Reports
- Article: An Unvelievable Story of Rape
- Book: Unbelievable, A True Story of Rape in America
- Book: Cry Rape, The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice
- UNBELIEVABLE, A Netflix Limited Series
- Sara Reedy, Testimoney before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee
- Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime & Drugs
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.