Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigations

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September 18 - September 19, 2023   |   Academy - 1595 Bonham Rd. Bristol, VA 24201

The Office of the Attorney General is launching a training series on conducting trauma informed sexual assault investigations.  The training content is primarily focused on law enforcement response, but the training content is useful for other disciplines that work with victims of sexual assault (those on MDT as well as others, i.e. Dispatch, EMS, Victim Advocates, SANE nurses and members of Commonwealth Attorney’s Offices ).

Purpose of Training

As a result of training content, law enforcement and those who engage with victims will have a better understanding of:

  • How trauma impacts victim behavior and memory, and the implications for investigations.
  • How to utilize trauma-informed interview techniques and offender-focused investigative strategies.

This knowledge will enable them to better support victims and hold offenders accountable.

Training Curriculum Content

Module 1 – Overcoming the Complexities of Sexual Violence: Understanding the Realities – Address common misperceptions and provide facts and realities regarding sexual violence.

Module 2 – How Does Culture Influence the Communities We Serve? – Discuss how culture contributes to ideas about gender and myths and misperceptions around sexual violence, as well as their impacts on victims, offenders, and the police response to sexual violence.

Module 3 – The Impact of Trauma: A Trauma‐Informed Lens and Response – Focus on how trauma impacts memory, reactions, and behavior and help us to understand the implications of this for first responders’ and investigators’ interviews and investigations.

Module 4 – Trauma Informed First Response – First Impression Matters – Provide participants with techniques they can use to build rapport with victims to increase victims’ feelings that their report is being taken seriously and that they are being supported in the process.

Module 5 – Trauma Informed Victim Interview – Further discuss the impacts of trauma on the interview and investigative processes and provide techniques to assist law enforcement in reducing these impacts to better support and build trust with victims, which in turn helps victims provide more complete information.

Module 6 – Perpetrator Realities and Investigative Strategies – Explore the realities of perpetrator behavior and investigative strategies in order to gather more evidence and increase the ability to hold perpetrators accountable.

Module 7 – Alcohol and Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Cases – Provide background on the characteristics and complexities of alcohol and drug facilitated sexual assault as well as provide strategies for investigating these types of cases.

Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigations

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