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:

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.


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