Investigations Involving Victims Engaged in High Risk Behaviors

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1 Investigations Involving Victims Engaged in High Risk Behaviors Catherine Johnson North Carolina Justice Academy (828) X223 office (816) cell

2 The Accused

3 Training Objectives 1. Describe the common responses associated with victims of rape. 2. Identify common symptoms of mental illness. 3. Explain at least two methods law enforcement can use to get women engaging in high risk behaviors (such as homelessness, addictions, and prostitution) to participate in the investigation. 4. Discuss ways to overcome the various challenges presented in these investigations and present better case files to the District Attorney s Office

4 Victim Response Fear Shock Self-blame, shame, and/or embarrassment Discomfort or mistrust of officials Consider it to be a private or personal matter (not a police matter)

5 Victim Response A victim may adopt risky behaviors that include engaging in high risk sexual behavior (such as promiscuity, prostitution, etc). * This puts the victim at HIGHER RISK for sexual violence in the future!!!!

6 High Risk/Vulnerabilities High risk/vulnerabilities may include: Drug and alcohol use/abuse Being used in prostitution Untreated mental illness

7 Drugs and Alcohol Photograph courtesy of Catherine Johnson

8 Drugs and Alcohol Why do people consume drugs and/or alcohol? What are some common behaviors associated with people who are under the influence?

9 Drugs and Alcohol Alcohol and drugs can: Impair a person s judgment Affect a person s ability to fight back or resist Reduces the person s sense of danger Affect a person s perceived credibility

10 Drugs and Alcohol 66.6% of female rape victims reported the offender was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the offense. 19.8% of female rape victims report using drugs or alcohol at the time of the rape. Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey.

11 Photograph courtesy of Prostitution

12 Prostitution The average age of a woman entering prostitution is years of age. 80% of women surveyed stated they left home due to childhood abuse. 62% reported incidents of rape. 73% reported incidents of physical abuse. 72% reported periods of homelessness. 92% wanted out of the lifestyle. Prostitution Research and Education Available at:

13 Reality Women used in prostitution are: Frequently homeless Have substance abuse problems Have mental illness(es) Have little (or no) support system

14 Why are they High Risk? Murder Victim, 2007 Photograph courtesy of the Kansas City Missouri Police Dept.

15 Mortality Mortality rate is 40 times greater than the National average Rape Victim, 2007

16

17

18

19 Common Symptoms Marked personality change Excessive anxieties, prolonged depression and apathy Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior Extreme highs and lows Substance abuse

20 Bipolar Disorder Common symptoms: Increased energy, activity, and restlessness Excessive euphoric mood Extreme irritability Racing thoughts, fast talk Inability to concentrate Poor judgment Increased sex drive Substance abuse Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior

21 Depression Leading cause of disability in the US Occurs twice as likely as females Life events can be a contributor Can be treated by medication, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) Antidepressants are common form, but take time to work

22 Anxiety Disorders About 20% of Americans are affected by an anxiety disorder May be genetic in nature Medical illness & brain injury can also be a cause Substance abuse common Can be treated

23 Schizophrenia Medical illness One of the ten most debilitating mental illnesses affecting about 2.4 million American adults Most do not engage in violent behavior At higher risk for suicide Substance abuse common Anosognosia part of the illness No known cure, but treatable

24 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Can be as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event Women experience PTSD at twice the rate of men Brain changes after a experiencing a traumatic event Can occur after a single traumatic event Co-occurring disorders are common

25 Why is this important? Mental illness increases vulnerability The effects of sexual assault increases risk of developing mental illness

26

27 Challenges Credibility of victim/lack of understanding Substance abuse Trauma memory Societal biases

28 Challenges Provability of the case Lack of victim cooperation The victim may be transient/difficult to locate

29 Victim Participation Present a non-judgmental attitude Make the victim feel safe Make referrals

30 Crime Scene Photograph courtesy of

31 Area Canvas Photograph courtesy of

32 Document Remember, if it isn t written down, it didn t happen.

33 Catherine J. Johnson North Carolina Justice Academy West (816) cell (828) X223 office

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