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.

PoliceOne is proud to announce yet another new presence in our fast-growing columnist section! We have forged a strategic alliance with the Force Science Institute, a cutting-edge organization that uses sophisticated time-and-motion measurements to document -- for the first time -- critical hidden truths about the mental and physical dynamic of life-threatening events, particularly officer-involved shooting. By agreement with PoliceOne Board Member Dr. Bill Lewinski - who also serves as the center's executive director - PoliceOne will begin posting the Center's findings and other articles of interest to the study of Force Science in their new section.

Contact Bill Lewinski

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