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Guidelines for Sexual Assault Investigation, 1999

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
65 pages
These guidelines for sexual assault investigations by California law enforcement officers have been updated from the original guidelines of 1978 in order to reflect changes in relevant law and investigative procedures.
These guidelines are intended to assist law enforcement agencies in the development of agency policy and procedures for investigating sexual assault crimes. They are designed to provide order and continuity to such investigations. The sequence of the guidelines follows the normal progression of events from the receipt of the initial report to the completion of the case summary for the prosecutor. The first chapter, which addresses general sexual assault investigative procedures, notes that the primary objective of the investigation is to determine the facts from all available evidence; prevent further trauma to the victim; safeguard the community; and protect the rights of all parties, including the victim, suspect, and witnesses. Guidelines for the initial receipt and evaluation of information pertain to the initial reporting of the offense, law enforcement's response, and the responsibilities of the responding officer. Guidelines for preliminary investigative procedures deal with initial information; the documentation, collection, and preservation of evidence; victim notification of investigative procedures; suspect identification; suspect interview/interrogation; mandatory notifications; documentation; personal opinions; the investigation's impact; and a victim-witness program. Thirteen guidelines deal with followup investigative procedures. They cover such matters as the scope and direction of the investigation, records check, investigative leads, additional victim interviews, corroboration, evidence, suspect interview/interrogation, and arrest of the suspect. Guidelines for interview and interrogation techniques are presented in the second chapter. Following general guidelines for interview and interrogation techniques, the chapter presents guidelines for interviewing victims and witnesses as well as interviews/interrogations of suspects. Appended supplementary information regarding typologies and disorders of sex offenders, California laws on sexual assault, the handling of evidence, and investigative resources