INVESTIGATING AND PROCESSING
A SEXUAL ASSAULT/ RAPE CASE
Once an officer has received a call pertaining to a sexual assault or rape, there are a few initial steps that must be carried out. Upon interviewing the victim and determining that an assault or rape has taken place, you as the investigation officer need to take the following initial steps:
* Have the dispatcher notify Chief Police officer and/or Capt. immediately.
* Have the dispatcher notify the current sexual assault officer for this department.
* Chief Police officer will notify all other college OFFICIALS and inform them of the situation.
Discuss with the victim the necessity of going to the ...view middle of the document...
* One woman in twelve will be raped sometime during the course of her lifetime.
* 78% of rape victims know their attackers prior to the commission of the act.
Only about 1/3 of all rapes are reported to police. According to a Senate Judiciary Committee report, the U. S. is NUMBER ONE in the world when it comes to the violent crimes of murder, robbery, and rape, a fact that has labeled rape “The American Crime.”
The investigation of a rape case is extremely difficult and demanding, requiring not only technical experience, but also sensitivity towards the victim. The criminal investigator should always remain cognizant of the fact that the entire criminal justice process, beginning with the initial police interview right through adjudication, poses an additional ordeal for the rape victim and her family. The trauma of rape leaves her at once hurt (physically and emotionally), angry, anxious, fearful, vengeful, confused, hate-filled, distrustful and etc. At times, the investigating officer(s) will find the victim uncooperative, even hostile during the interview/preliminary report phases of the investigation.
Sensitivity and understanding of the psychology of rape and sexual assault are prerequisites to a successful sex crime investigation.
Most big city police department have specialized units for sex crimes, but the vast majority of the nation’s law enforcement agencies do not possess that luxury and rely on all officers to at least have a fundamental understanding of procedures to be followed in sexual assault cases.
According to a number of different state penal codes rape can be defined as “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Penetration of the vagina by the attacker’s penis must occur in order for the suspect to be charged with the crime of rape; otherwise, it is classified a sexual assault, with differing degrees of severity.
Rape is one of the most dangerous of offenses against a person since the potential exists for serious injury, severe psychological trauma, or death. The added terror of AIDS leaves little doubt that rape cases are unique, deserving special considerations. The gravity of such a crime is demonstrated by the fact that some civilized cultures once imposed the death penalty on convicted rapists.
Sex Crimes Evidence Kit
Even before investigation a rape or other sexual assault, the police officer or criminal investigator should make certain that the proper equipment is available to assist the investigator. In small agencies it may be advisable to keep a sexual assault forensic kit in the trunk of every cruiser. The kit should include:
* a comb
* specimen envelopes
* plastic micro slide container with slides
* cytology fixative, syringe aspirator
* cotton applicators
* bacteria transport materials
* test tube for cotton applicators
* nose and mouth specimen paper
* 2”x 3” & 4”x 6” plastic bags
* 5ml and 20ml...