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Let the tears flow

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September 17, 2008

Let the tears flow

Submitted by:
Force Science Research Center

The following tip surfaced during a discussion at a Force Science training class:

If a victim starts crying during an interview, don’t immediately volunteer to stop the interview (“It’s OK. Let’s take a break and give you a minute to gather your thoughts…”) That kind of response can make a victim feel inadequate, weak and further out of control of him/herself.

It can also divert their attention from the main goal of the discussion – which is trying to get you the important details of the event you need – to the task of just trying to hold back tears so you don’t have to stop the interview.

If they start crying, offer them a Kleenex, but don’t stop dead in your tracks. If you can move comfortably through tearful moments, you keep the rhythm flowing, you look like you’re experienced and used to dealing with trauma victims (as opposed to being jarred by crying) and you keep the victim feeling more comfortable and empowered to tell their story.

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