Interviews with Sexual Assault Victims: Trauma-Informed Techniques and Communications 

Interviews with Sexual Assault Victims: Trauma-Informed Techniques and Communications 

No directly quoted material may be used in this project paper. 

For this Project, you are to assume the role as Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of a large police department. Recently, you were approached by another department’s Chief (located in Maryland) that has received criticism for its handling of several sexual assault investigations. Complaints from survivors, and advocates sitting in on law enforcement interviews, included insensitive treatment during interviews, victim-blaming questions, issues with language used in reporting documentation (i.e. had sexual intercourse v. nonconsensual sexual assault) lack of consistent follow-up and communication, and failure to provide information about supportive services during and beyond the investigation.

You have been approached because your department underwent significant changes and updated Standard Operating Procedures to ensure investigative approaches are consistent with trauma-informed practices. From this, community assessments of survivors’ experiences have shown increased trust in the reporting process, improved community-police relationships, and an overall increase in reports of sexual assault.

For this Project, you have been asked to provide a department training and procedures guide for the Chief of the partner department that includes recommendations on investigations techniques and treatment of sexual assault survivors.

Required Research & Analysis:

Provide a brief background on the crime of sexual assault, including prevalence rates, vulnerable populations, and barriers to reporting.
Offer analysis regarding how historical rape laws and current rape myths have influenced investigative approaches.
Suggest what topical education should be required for officers and detectives interacting with victims reporting sexual assault and explain why?
Address what training is required for detectives in order to insure interviews with victims are consistent with trauma-informed techniques?
What considerations should departments make regarding timelines of initial victim interviews and follow-up interviews given our current understanding of trauma exposure and memory recall?
How is trauma memory recall different from our traditional understanding of considerations when assessing reliable memory?
How has the FETI interview approach been shown to combat the consequences of trauma and why does this approach provide more reliable and valid data?
How should law enforcement expect survivors of sexual assault to act during interviews?
What considerations should be made when documenting reports of sexual assault?
What information, notice, and support should be provided to all victims under Maryland victims’ rights laws? Are there any special requirements for victims of sexual assault?
What do Maryland law guidelines suggest in terms of victim treatment by law enforcement?
How do positive victim experiences with law enforcement impact overall reporting rates, crime data, and ultimately the resources dedicated to policing and solvability of sexual assault cases?

Required Support: You must cite to course materials to support your analysis in your memo. Your memo should include a References Page with at least 5 resources from the course using the American Psychological Association (APA) formatting standards. Refer to the APA information found in Content -> Course Overview -> Course Resources.

Required Formatting:

While it may be possible to adequately cover the material in under 8 pages, that is the minimum length recommended to ensure you fully answer the questions asked.
Paper must be double spaced, Times-New Roman, 12-point font and 1” margins all around.
All APA 7th edition format requirements must be followed (cover page, in text citations, references page). Refer to the APA information found in Content -> Course Overview -> Course Resources.
You must have at least 5 resources to support your thoughts/opinions/information.  These must be cited both in text as well as at the end of the document. Your paper should not contain direct quotes, sourced material must be paraphrased.