Improving Sexual Assault Investigations

Recently there has been a rash of sexual assault cases reported at colleges throughout the United States prompting a response from President Obama to form a task force to look into the situation further. What the task force reported was that 1 in 5 women at college claim to have been the victim of sexual assault, but that only 12% of those are reported. Traditionally, for many reasons, sexual assaults have been an underreported crime but hopefully that starts to change! In addition to underreporting, some of difficulties that surround sexual assault investigations, especially of college-age individuals, is that quite often they involve the use of alcohol and/or drugs which can certainly impair judgment as well as memory. Also, we get many cases where there is no disagreement between the parties that they had a sexual encounter; the disagreement lies with consent. One party (usually a female) claims that she didn’t want to have sex, or she agreed to it but at some point she told him to stop and he didn’t stop, while the other party (usually a male) claims everything was consensual and she never told him to stop. Who do you believe? Sexual assaults happen, but so do false allegations. Failing to arrest and punish the perpetrator of a sexual assault is like victimizing the victim again. Arresting a suspect for a sexual assault he didn’t commit is unconscionable and it will change the course of his life forever. These are by no means easy investigations and they must be handled with professionalism and sensitivity. To sort these cases out you need specially trained investigators to conduct the interviews and gather and assess the information provided by both the victim and suspect, as well as any available witnesses. One of the keys to successfully investigating these types of cases is training in Investigative Statement Analysis. For training or more information feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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