Interview strategies for sexual assault and rape investigations

It is challenging to analyze the number of rapes and sexual assaults that occur annually because these crimes are underreported


By Nicole Cain, full-time faculty member at American Military University

Rape and sexual assaults are horrendous crimes that devastate victims and their families. It is challenging to analyze the number of rapes and sexual assaults that occur annually because these crimes are underreported.

One study identified several reasons why rape victims do not file police reports, which included feelings of guilt and embarrassment, the fear of not being believed, and a mistrust of the criminal justice system. Detectives who are responsible for investigating these crimes play a pivotal role in assuaging victims’ fears and uncertainties about the criminal justice process.

The Issue of Consent
The legal definition of rape varies slightly from state to state. A general definition of rape is the penetration of the sexual organ, mouth, or anus of one person by another without consent. It can also include sexual relations with a person below a specific age, such as a minor. Additionally, the statutes also protect people who are mentally deficient and incapable of consent or intoxicated to a degree where they are incapable of giving consent. Consent is an issue with sex crimes because minor children cannot consent, mentally handicapped persons cannot consent, and intoxicated persons cannot consent.

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