Reporting a Sexual Assault

The #MeToo movement has made many people aware of the problem of sexual assault. Rape charges are always complicated to investigate and prosecute – and the police report is an important part of the process.

I just went into my files and found an excellent example of a police report from a 2015 accusation. You can read it at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzdI8i7OzDP8UnFpZVVPVXV6Ym4wNWo3X25fUUNZTGZFNmFr/view

The officer had to deal with several challenges during this investigation. One problem is that the alleged rapist couldn’t be located at the time, but there were five other interviews: the alleged victim and four other students.

Rather than trying to sort through all five accounts, the officer wrote a separate paragraph for each one. That organizational system insures that each account is complete and easy to understand (qualities appreciated by anyone who needs to refer to it later – a judge, reporter, or attorney.

The news story (which you can read at this link) can also be a useful starting point for a discussion of the challenges that can arise during a rape investigation.

I have only one suggestion: the report often uses “advised” instead of told or said. Police jargon is never a good idea when you know that many people outside of law enforcement may be reading what you’ve written.

____________________________________________________________

Sign up for our FREE Police Writer e-Newsletter and receive a free copy of “10 Days to Better Police Reports,” ready to download! Your privacy is protected: We NEVER share emails with third parties.

 
 
 
____________________________________________________________

 Criminal Justice Report Writing by Jean Reynolds is available from Amazon.com for the low price of $17.95. For a free preview, click on the link or the picture below.

Updated, with a new chapter on Writing Efficiently

“It will definitely help you with your writing skills.” – Joseph E. Badger, California Association of Accident Reconstructionists Newsletter

Criminal Justice Report Writing is also available as an e-book in a variety of formats for $9.99: Click here.

 

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *