Flashcards in ASA Investigation Policy and Procedure Deck (13)
A person aged 18 years or older at the time of reporting a sexual assault.
Sexual assault includes but is not limited to:
• sexual violation by rape or unlawful sexual connection
• indecent assault
• any form of unwanted or coercive touching or actions of a sexual nature/circumstances of indecency
• any sexual abuse or exploitation by way of coercion, deceit, power of authority or mistaken belief
The person whom a sexual assault has been committed against. Also referred to as the survivor.
Providing specialist support
Appropriate sexual assault support for ASA victims is provided by:
• a specially trained group or agency, including Iwi and Maori groups, providing specialist sexual assault support or counselling services for sexual assault victims/survivors in the community, and/or
• where there are no such groups available locally, a trained sexual assault counsellor who supports victims and is able to respond appropriately to sexual abuse disclosures should be used
Purpose of a Preliminary Interview
For investigators to gain a better understanding of what has occurred and to establish:
• brief outline of facts
• urgent investigation needs, considering potential for loss of evidence, medical circumstances and suspects likely actions
• victim safety
• public safety
Procedures for Conducting a Preliminary Interview
- Ensure the victim is safe, all necessary initial contact actions have been undertaken, the interview environment is comfortable and private and room should not used by suspects/offenders.
- Ensure that specialist sexual assault support has been arranged
- Following investigative interviewing procedures for witnesses, ask the witness 'TEDS' questions. Avoid asking "why" or "how". Take care not to contaminate the victim's recall of the events.
- All information obtained from the preliminary interview should be recorded in bullet point by the interviewing officer in their notebook.
- Do not conduct a formal interview unless you have been asked to do so by a CIB supervisor.
After the Preliminary Interview
- Re-assess the investigation so far and consider what further investigative procedures are necessary including:
• public safety and the likelihood of similar or connected further offending
• the need to secure and preserve fragile or diminishing evidence
• securing and containing the crime scene
• identifying and locating witnesses
• identification and/or apprehension of the suspect
- Consider whether a recent photograph of the victim is necessary for evidential purposes
- If Police require the victim's clothing for examination, ensure a suitable change of clothing is arranged and available
- Regardless of whether further investigative actions are to be taken or a formal complaint made, ensure the victim is advised of the specialist services available to them
Information to be provided to victims
- Advise of sexual assault support services available
- Provide information about the Police investigation process and realistic expectations about the likely timing of each stage
- Clarify the victim's expectations in reporting
- The victim should be given an opportunity to comment on their needs regarding the selection of the ASA investigator, specialist adult witness interviewer, medical/forensic doctor, support person(s).
- Ensure advised of information as per S29 VRA
- Provide investigation progress updates to the victim during the investigation.
- Discuss with the victim whether the investigation and/or prosecution could or should continue if a complaint is withdrawn.
- Explain and discuss decisions not to proceed with an investigation or prosecution and assist the victim to understand the reasons for this.
Primary Objective of a medical forensic examination
The victim's physical, sexual and mental health and safety.
Timing of medical examinations
Acute (1-7 days) - A medical forensic practitioner must be contacted as soon as possible.
Non-Acute (7 days-6months) - Always refer the victim for SAATS medical care, even in cases when a forensic examination is unlikely to generate trace evidence because of the time lapse since the assault.
Historic (6months+) - Refer the victim to SAATS to determine whether they may benefit from a medical examination and/or medical care.
Before conducting medical forensic examinations
Explain to the victim:
- That the examination will be conducted by a medical forensic practitioner specially trained in examining individuals who have been sexually assaulted
- That it has potential health benefits and can help Police obtain evidence to apprehend/prosecute the offender
- The expected duration of the examination ("a couple of hours") and, if appropriate, possible outcomes of the examination.
- Ask the victim if they have any concerns about the gender of the practitioner conducting the examination and advise that you will do your best to accommodate their wishes.
Before conducting medical forensic examinations
Contact the medical forensic practitioner on call and advise:
- The age and gender of the victim as this may impact on the practitioner's suitability
- When the sexual assault is believed to have occurred
- Give a very brief outline of the information known so far, including whether drugs may be involved and details of the victim's injuries, level of intoxication or other known health concerns
- If relevant, discuss the victim's wishes about gender of the examining practitioner
- When necessary, discuss whether a child's sexual assault complaint should be investigated using the adult sexual assault procedures (or vice versa).