Police interviewing of sexual assault victims

Current organizational responses and recommendations for improvement

Authored by: Nina J. Westera , Martine B. Powell , Rebecca Milne , Jane Goodman-Delahunty

The Routledge International Handbook of Legal and Investigative Psychology

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367345570
eBook ISBN: 9780429326530
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides an overview of police organizational approaches to enhancing the quality of evidence obtained from adult and child victims of sexual assault, and reviews the degree to which actual organizational strategies are aligned with the guidance on what constitutes recommended (ideal) practice. The long-standing gap between best practice interview technique – as taught in training curricula – and actual practice in the field is a dominant theme in contemporary interviewing research. Based on our understanding of current research on investigative interviewing as well as international police interviewer training practices, we provide an overview of key criteria for evidence-based practice along with a list of common limitations that inhibit adherence to best interviewing practice. The chapter is structured around four main elements that are essential for promoting good interviewing. These elements include: (a) an evidence-based interview framework, (b) opportunities for skill development, (c) quality assurance for interviewer and organizational performance, and (d) a reliable method of recording verbal evidence.

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