Webinar Archive

Webinar Archive


Strategies for Enhancing Victim-Witness Testimony in Sexual Assault Cold Case Investigations

Strategies for Enhancing Victim-Witness Testimony in Sexual Assault Cold Case Investigations

Cold case investigations pose unique challenges for investigators who question victims and witnesses many years after a crime was committed. Challenges to eliciting victim-witness testimony include identifying and overcoming motivational barriers (e.g., reluctance), as well as factors related to the fallibility of human memory (e.g., source misattribution). Investigators have traditionally received little training in how to elicit cold case testimony. Drawing on examples from actual cases, this presentation will identify unique investigative challenges inherent to eliciting cold case testimony and review evidence-based strategies for enhancing victim-witness reports.

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Ten Steps to Consider When Conducting a Criminal Sexual Assault Investigation

Ten Steps to Consider When Conducting a Criminal Sexual Assault Investigation

This presentation will focus on lessons learned from a 25-year law enforcement career which has placed the presenter in a variety of communities. Whether inner-city Atlanta, Georgia, the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation, or on a college campus, sound trauma-informed investigative principles around gender-based violence and sexual assault should apply equally to all.

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Conducting Interviews in the Virtual Environment – New Normal to Increase Access

Conducting Interviews in the Virtual Environment – New Normal to Increase Access

While it has been a long-accepted practice to interview victims of crime in person, the recent global pandemic has caused what is viewed as normal to shift. In the interest of public and personal safety it has been imperative for people to consider space and distance to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Schools have closed, court hearings have been postponed, and in some jurisdictions, interviewing crime victims had to be postponed or reimagined.

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

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

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.

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Part 2: Effective Victim Interviewing: Helping Victims Retrieve and Disclose Memories

Part 2: Effective Victim Interviewing: Helping Victims Retrieve and Disclose Memories

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. Building on Part 1 in this 2-part series of workshops offered by veteran law enforcement investigators, Part 2 focuses on examining the concrete strategies and techniques involved in: (a) conducting an initial interview and preliminary investigation, (b) planning, preparing, and conducting an in-depth victim interview, (c) documenting victim statements and other investigative findings, and (d) following up with additional interviews and an evolving investigation. 

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Seek Then Speak: Technology Designed to Increase Reporting and Access to Services

Seek Then Speak: Technology Designed to Increase Reporting and Access to Services

Research indicates that only 1 in 5 victims of forcible rape will report the crime, precluding law enforcement from holding offenders accountable and decreasing the likelihood that survivors will connect with supportive services. To increase access to reporting, EVAWI partnered with VictimsVoice to create a new self-guided, online interviewing tool for sexual assault victims. First, survivors and their support people are offered information about sexual assault victimization and various options for reporting to police and accessing services (SEEK). If they choose, survivors can then begin the process of reporting to police by providing information in response to trauma-informed interview prompts (SPEAK).

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Empathy-Based Interrogation (EBI)

Empathy-Based Interrogation (EBI)

Empathy-Based Interrogation (EBI) is an advanced interrogation and interview philosophy designed to keep suspects talking. EBI is research-based and grounded in empathy which facilitates an understanding of the subject’s point of view and motivation for committing the offense. It also provides incentives for the subject to share accurate information. In addition, because it is a non-coercive, conversational interview, it is more easily defended in the courtroom. EBI will benefit anyone who conducts interviews for the purpose of gaining accurate and actionable information.

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Cultural and Systemic Effects on Sexual Assault Reporting and Investigations: Exploring High Profile Cases

Cultural and Systemic Effects on Sexual Assault Reporting and Investigations: Exploring High Profile Cases

Identify organizational or institutional norms, and explore how these norms may define and confine members, including those who are sexually assaulted.

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Why Should We Care About the Science? Understanding the Impact of Sexual Assault on Victim Responses, Behaviors, and Memories

Why Should We Care About the Science? Understanding the Impact of Sexual Assault on Victim Responses, Behaviors, and Memories

By applying a scientific understanding of trauma and trauma-informed interviewing principles, investigators can help victims to recall and share details about their sexual assault. These details will then guide the resulting investigation, including interviews with respondents and witnesses, other types of evidence, and corroborative information. Decision makers can piece these details together to compile a more comprehensive and evidence-based account of the sexual assault, and enhance case determinations.

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Domestic and Sexual Violence: Trauma Informed Victim Contact and Interviewing

Domestic and Sexual Violence: Trauma Informed Victim Contact and Interviewing

You’ve learned about trauma and its effects, now what? How do you translate that knowledge into outcomes for victims, achieve justice and be trauma-informed, and work with victims who need help but refuse to cooperate with law enforcement? How do you get victims to share their stories so the legal system can begin getting them justice – whether through a criminal conviction or a protective order?

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