The Police Have Perfect Guidelines For Interviewing Rape Victims, But We STILL Don’t Use Them.

The rise of rape victims can be attributed to the Authorities taking little to no action.

It is normal for the victim of such a violent crime to feel shocked, and not realise what just happened. People don’t usually come forward about these crimes, as most people try to blame the victim.

The authorities don’t help either. Rather they can sometimes let their thoughts on the subject matter slide in the interview. As a result, It usually ends with the victim feeling more guilty or scared than before. And, it leaves us feeling frustrated.

The Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI established the perfect way to interview rape victims years ago. And, yet nobody seems to follow the guidelines.

The following is a passage  from ‘Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation, A Multidisciplinary Approach, Third Edition,’ – Ann Burgess and Robert Hazelwood

Via Knowable

The Introduction is the Most Important Aspect of the Interview.

The victim might or might not feel comfortable talking about the crime. And, it mostly depends on the authorities behaviour. The Officer should be calm and professional and always use the victim’s last name.

The officer should assure them, that they were a victim of a violent crime. Because it can never be their fault. He should also assure that the victim feels safe and secure while talking about it.

He should try to keep the interview brief and explain that some questions might get a bit personal. The officer should not conduct the interview in such a way, that it feels like an interrogation.

The victim obviously wants to cooperate and is confident in the competence of the authorities.

Via JFTs Charity


The Officer should involve the victim in the process of the investigation.

Give them your phone number so they can ask any more question, or help with the survey in any way they can. Ask for their opinion on everything. It is their life you are talking about.

Try to make the victim feel comfortable and in control as much as possible. Never use their First name without permission. Let them describe the crime in their words if they want, rather than forcing them to answer your questions.

Listen to any requests they have and pay attention to what they are saying. A person’s choice of words can tell a lot about what they are feeling. The victim might be feeling guilt, fear or humiliation.

Help them realise, that it was not their fault and they were a victim of a violent crime. And, try not to say rape. Rather than, just asking all the humiliating questions at once. Balance them with some questions about their feelings.

Commence by employing professional phrasing.

It is always possible to lower the difficulty of terminology, rather than doing the reverse. Don’t be judgmental and portray the calmness in your vocabulary. Rather than asking.  “What were you doing out so late?”. Try a different approach. “Please describe what was happening leading up to the assault”. 

After the interview is finished, the situation should be explained to the victim. The officer should tell them about the next step in the investigation, so the victim is sure that justice will be served, and the offender will be caught.

Last but not least, Thank the victim. Because they should leave feeling safe, guiltless, and confident.







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