Trauma informed remote interviewing of vulnerable witnesses

At a time when interviewing key witnesses face to face is particularly challenging this short paper highlights some specific challenges when that witness is vulnerable, particularly in the context of trauma informed investigation.

Much has been discussed on webinars about the benefits and pitfalls of remote interviewing and it is not unreasonable to think that there will be pressure post-Covid to conduct many more interviews ‘virtually’ to secure savings and efficiencies, and rightly so.

However, there must always remain those instances when there is no substitute for the benefits and well-being secured by face to face interviews, if only on the basis of an ‘invest to save’ investigation case management model.

In our world of civil investigation those pressures are even greater but the impact on a victim of serious sexual misconduct (which would amount to rape if flipped into the criminal arena) are no less traumatised because they have elected to pursue their complaint civilly.

A trauma informed approach to the interview is critical and even though this paper is aimed at the criminal investigation the principles it enshrines are no less applicable to the civil.

The key? 

A rationalised planning and preparation phase that is proportionate and relevant and in which decision-making is recorded. 

The paper, published by The Investigator can be read here: Remote Interviewing Investigator Article 2020 and acknowledgements to our good friends, Professors Becky Milne and Coral Dando, and Dr Kevin Smith for the dedicated research they do in this area of business.

ALL our investigators are trained in trauma informed investigation and interviewing and undertake CPD by Zoe Loderick to ensure currency.

If we can help and support with face to face or remote forensic interviewing please just contact. At Intersol Global we ‘do it’ as well as train it.