Report

An investigation into the effective and ethical interviewing of suspected sex offenders

28 Nov 2006
Description

Sexual assault is the offence least likely to be reported to police and, when reported, often does not proceed to court. The study reported here investigates ways of improving the likelihood of a guilty offender confessing and is based on interviews with offenders and police. The authors suggest that the credibility of the evidence and the manner in which it is presented to the suspect can affect the likelihood of securing a confession. Sexual assault is the offence least likely to be reported to police and, when reported, often does not proceed to court (Lievore 2005). Two reasons for this are victim reluctance to relive the experience in testimony and cross examination, and the difficulty of presenting a case with no witnesses to corroborate evidence. Research by the Institute (Taylor & Joudo 2005) has shown how difficult it is to secure convictions in adult sexual assault cases. The study reported here investigates ways of improving the likelihood of a guilty offender confessing and is based on interviews with offenders and police. The authors suggest that the credibility of the evidence and the manner in which it is presented to the suspect can affect the likelihood of securing a confession. Although the numbers in the study are relatively small, they are indicative of practical measures that have the potential to improve the efficacy of the criminal justice system for victims of sexual assault. The broader impact would be in considerable benefits accruing to the judicial system.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2006
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