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Victim Interviews In Cases Of Acquaintance Rape

Alison Eaton Andy Griffiths Sussex Police, UK

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Rape The law


Rape is where A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person B with his penis. B does not consent to the penetration. A does not reasonably believe that B consents Rape is still a crime of basic intent and selfinduced intoxication is no defence. It carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the UK British crime survey reports every year 60,000 women are raped in the UK
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I didnt hurt nobody. Nobody has a black eye or broken ribs


Mike Tyson at his sentencing for rape. (Cynthia Tucker, Rape does hurt somebody San Francisco Chronicle, 6 April 1992)

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Acquaintance Rape Victim is able to identify the suspect. Someone known to them Neighbour, Friend, Social Circle Previous knowledge of the suspect Other categories include domestic rapes, stranger rapes
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Myths & Reality


Myth Rape is a violent assault by a stranger Myth Non violent non consensual sex with someone you know ( acquaintance) is not rape Reality In 75% of rape cases the identity of the suspect is known to the victim Reality Acquaintance rape is one of the most unreported crimes (hidden crimes) Reality Fear of not being believed

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Recognising Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Medical & Psychological condition suffered by many victims of rape. Also known as Rape Trauma Syndrome Three stages Acute, Adjustment and Long Term May not appear visibly distressed Officers should keep notes of observed physical condition and demeanour of victim. Effect timing of victim interview. Decision should balance needs of investigation, responsibilities under PACE and potential effects of trauma and stress of victim

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Victim Interview strategy in acquaintance rape


Aims and objectives Circumstances of victim meeting suspect Previous behaviour of suspect Mode of contact Attempts by suspect to contact victim after offence Forensic opportunities Full details of offence and circumstances, witnesses, timing, speech. Points to prove.

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Introduction to study
Study has examined a number of local cases through joint working with CPS Victim interview is critical in rape cases as there are rarely any other witnesses Key evidence to direct investigation. Interview at core of investigation and credibility of victim is key. Qualitative analysis Focus on questioning skills to produce detailed account. Recognising effects of trauma and inconsistencies.
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Case Study one

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Case Study One


Victim, 25 years out drinking with friends and ended up at nightclub Met up with a group of males known from sports club, including T Went outside for smoke and ended up consensual kissing with T Invited back for drinks at Ts flat with others in group Drinking continued at the flat Victim and T into bedroom and continued consensual kissing Suddenly second male entered bedroom and held victim down on bed and anally raped her at same time as T then vaginally raped victim.

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Case Study One Interview


Interview conducted over 2 days During introduction: Q What sort of contact have you had with police before? A I was in trouble as a teenager When victim spoke about T asking her back to his flat: Q What did you think was going to happen? A Not that I would be raped by two of them. Final and very inappropriate question: Q What have your recent sexual experiences been?
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Case Study One Interview


Q Describe where you were in the club, try marking it on this plan A This side of the dance floor.. Q Tell me how you knew T? A We go to the same yoga class at the gym and got talking after.. Q Have you had any contact from him since? A One of his mates at the club asked me to call him ..

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Case Study Two

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Case Study Two


The victim is 19 years old. 999 call made to police by victims mother reporting daughter had been raped by an acquaintance. Victim said she had been in her bedroom when suddenly J came into room. J asked if they could have sex, victim screamed at him to get out. J then pushed her onto the bed and raped her, placing a pillow over her mouth. She ran into bathroom and locked door, heard J go to kitchen and get knife, used it to unlock door and threaten her with knife. J walked downstairs and she heard front door close, she believed he had left and went downstairs, but he was hiding in lounge

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Case Study Two Interview


Q Tell me in detail what happened when J came into your bedroom? A He bust into my bedroom and asked if we could have sex and I told him to get out! he continued to push his penis into me , my vagina until he ejaculated. Q Then what happened? A I managed to punch him in the mouth and then ran into the bathroom and locked the door. Q Tell me what J did? A I heard him go downstairs, sounded like he was getting a knife or something from the kitchen

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Case Study Two Interview


Q Tell me how you know J? A He is an ex, I finished with him 6 months ago. Q When was the last time you had any contact with him? A Saw him in Town House a couple of weeks ago, just said hello .. Q I need to now go back and get a bit more detail from when J was in your bedroom. What was the conversation? A I was screaming No! Get out for a lot of the time

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Conclusions
The need to move away from influence of stereo types of rape victims and rapists

Effective interviews that successfully meet the needs of investigation and ensure the victim feels supported and believed.
Conflict between investigative need for detail and psychological effects after trauma. Inconsistencies and ambiguities within victims interview must be fully addressed.

Credibility of the victim is key.

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Any questions ?

Detective Inspector Ali Eaton alison.eaton@sussex.pnn.police.uk Detective Superintendent Andy Griffiths andrew.griffiths@sussex.pnn.police.uk

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