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When Police Interview Victims of Sexual Assault

When Police Interview Victims of Sexual Assault

Comparing Written Guidance to Interactional Practice

(p.21) Chapter Two When Police Interview Victims of Sexual Assault
The Discourse of Police Interviews
Elizabeth StokoeCharles AntakiEmma RichardsonSara Willott
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents an analysis of investigative interviews with victims of reported sexual abuse. The data analyzed are 19 videotapes of interviews from archived cases involving complainants with intellectual disabilities. In particular, the chapter compares what is recommended in UK national guidelines to ‘achieve best evidence’ in such victim interviews and, on the basis of conversation analysis, how police officers adhere to and depart from recommended practice in ways which are both effective and less effective. The analysis reveals a restricted sense of rapport, and occasional use of questions implying blame. The chapter considers the implications of the analysis for published guidelines for interviewing victims and witnesses as well as for the training of officers and those who work with vulnerable adults and children to achieve a fair and supportive criminal justice system.

Keywords:   police interview, sexual assault, intellectual disability, communication guidance, communication training, conversation analysis

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