Reviewing the advice published by McAllister Olivarius and The 1752 Group a simple and obvious measure to improve service delivery to victims of sexual misconduct that might amount to a criminal offence came to mind and I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before. Maybe because sometimes you’re so professionally absorbed that you need to take a step back to see the woods for the trees!
If YOU decide to report such an incident to your institution and YOU decide that you want it investigated by them under their discipline code insist that the interviewer has a specialist qualification in cognitive interviewing and conversation management to conduct it. This is known as an investigative interview and by default will ensure that your interviewer has an understanding of trauma informed investigation and the forensic nature of questioning and you will be doing the best you can to protect yourself in future.
The last thing you need is to be re-interviewed several times, unnecessarily re-traumatised, or damage the chances of a successful and fair investigation.
If it was me I would also insist on the interview being recorded as this is far and away the best way of note-taking and ensuring the interview integrity, in an ideal world visually as well as audio, but we know this is a step too far for many. What this does achieve is the accurate, reliable and detailed capturing and storage of your account until YOU want to use it – perhaps in a criminal context in the future if you change your mind.
The interview of anyone reporting such offences should NEVER be undertaken by an unskilled staff member, it is likely to be very damaging to the process that follows and unfair on ALL parties, reporting and reported person and also the interviewer and institution.
If you’re unsure of the skill-level of your interviewer/investigator consider politely asking them to explain PEACE, CI and ECI, what level they were trained to, and how they ensure independence from the institution. In our next ‘blog’ we will explain more about forensic interviewing and why our team are so qualified so that you will be better placed to evaluate the responses to your queries.
It is YOUR right to be treated professionally and your expectations honestly managed at all times.
This is how we simply capture the immediate requirements when reporting:
The McAllister Olivarius and 1752 Guidance document can be viewed here:
If you would be interested in knowing more about this subject and how our team is best placed to train and support investigators and investigations please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org