“Reading” Victims and Judging Credibility – Best Practices in Promoting Victim Centered Investigations and Prosecutions

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
September 15, 2017

Wendy Patrick
Wendy Patrick
JD, PhD, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

Victim centered investigations and prosecutions requires effective perception skills. Building rapport by perceiving emotional needs promotes effective advocacy, investigations, and prosecutions through building a collaborative relationship of trust.

This program will demonstrate how to effectively read victims, perceive victim needs, and judge credibility, in order to develop areas of common ground necessary to build solid relationships and enhance successful investigations and prosecutions, from the crime scene to the courtroom.

In discussing effective perception skills, this webinar will present an overview of the psychology and empirical research behind reading people skills, presented in an entertaining format. You will learn about the qualities that have been proven to be most important, and how to best perceive and use them in any situation.

From the advocacy perspective, through sharp perception skills, the advocate can bond early on with the victim and help keep the victim connected to the criminal justice process every step of the way, a process that should include comprehensive victim involvement. From the investigation and prosecution perspective, victim involvement strengthens the case on all fronts. This program will illustrate how all aspects of case investigation and prosecution are enhanced by effective victim involvement, and how to incorporate a victim centered approach throughout the life of a case.


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

  • Develop and enhance the skills necessary to effectively read victims, perceive emotional needs, and judge credibility, in order to select the best method of developing and personalizing a victim-centered investigation and prosecution.
  • Develop a holistic approach to working with crime victims, including relationship building between the victim, the advocate, the investigator and the prosecutor that is characterized by consistent, non-judgmental encouragement and empowerment.
  • Build an atmosphere of cooperation and trust within which victims are more likely to engage in honest dialog with advocates, investigators and prosecutors, enhancing the likelihood that a victim will be able to participate in an effective investigation and prosecution.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K015 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.

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.

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