Non-stranger sexual assault cases are unlike any other criminal investigation, and conducting a trauma-informed victim interview is paramount.
Getting an accurate interview from the victim is critical.
Trauma has unique effects on the brain and, in particular, the areas of the brain responsible for processing information and remembering facts. Many rape victims experience memory loss to some degree. Victims may be able to remember, in great detail, parts of the assault, but, when asked about other aspects, their memories may be fragmented or incomplete. Some officers will make the mistake of discrediting a victim’s statement if elements of the narrative are imprecise or if a victim cannot recount an event in a clear chronological fashion.
By using a trauma-informed approach when speaking to the victim, you will yield better outcomes from the interview process.
In this session, you will learn:
● How to do a trauma-informed interview. Many officers make the mistake of asking for “just the facts” through closed-ended questions. You will learn how to frame questions effectively and how to unpack nuanced information throughout the interview by allowing the victim to direct the narrative.
● How to use the five senses to aid a victim in recalling the assault.
● How to take a victim-centered approach: Consider your demeanor, location of the interview, who is with the victim, and how you set up the interview to make the victim feel as comfortable as possible.
● How to create and maintain an open interview: Learn what language to use, how to provide explanations for your questions and when to clarify pieces of the victim’s narrative.
● How to decide the best timing of the interview and when it is ok to delay the victim interview.