Victims of sexual offences: Aspects impacting on participation, cooperation and engagement with the interview process

William S. Webster*, Gavin E. Oxburgh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The way in which police officers interview sexual offence victims is pivotal to how their cases proceed through the criminal justice system (CJS). However, such interviews have previously been found to be lacking in overall quality, with some interviewers finding them technically difficult and stressful to conduct. In addition, victims often feel disbelieved, unsafe and/or uncomfortable during their police interview. The present study provides insight into the personal experiences of five female adult rape/sexual assault victims regarding their police interviews and the aspects that encouraged them to cooperate and engage during the interview process. Following semi-structured interviews, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to identify three key themes: (i) heading into the unknown, (ii) difficulty of talking about the crime and (iii) helpful and unhelpful interviewer approaches. Implications for practice are discussed, together with the need to further our understanding of this specialist area of police work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-697
Number of pages19
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date17 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2022

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