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Case Study: Mrs. Smith

Three Areas of Victim Care

The case involves a victim who suffered minimal physical harm, but the impact on her mental health is not easy to distinguish. The interviewing officer made efforts to inquire about the victim’s well-being all through the interview. The action shows that the officer is concerned for the well-being of the victim. The role of officers is to protect the public, thus the concern. Another area of concern is whether there was a chance that the perpetrator may have purposefully targeted her. Spitting on someone’s face after a robbery shows an emotional connection; it is possible that the victim feels wronged by Mrs. Smith in one way. It is also vital to establish whether the victim has some other place where she can spend a few nights as it ensures her safety since the perpetrator had all the information, including her address and house keys. It is a measure to increase Mrs. Smith; safety.

The Five-Part Statement

This is a statement by Mrs. Smith, the victim of a robbery where her bag containing personal items was stolen. The report involves the perpetrator of the theft. The victim had made plans to meet with her friends at the Project cafe at around 7 in the evening. She decided to walk there as it was only a short distance; halfway down the road, she saw a man standing by a building smoking. He was staring at her, which led to her increased pace. The man accosted her stealing her handbag that was hanging from her right arm; there was a struggle as Mrs. Smith fell, and the perpetrator managed to take the bag. He spat on her before retreating into a silverfish vehicle with a circle logo before fleeing away. The event occurred in approximately three minutes. The victim passed at least five meters from the perpetrator and described that they had a red jumper, dark trousers with black trainers. The event occurred at night, obscuring the victim’s observation. Mrs. Smith states that the perpetrator was a bit taller than her, maybe 175cm; he was ugly and had short unkempt hair. One unique feature of the offender that stood out to the witness/victim was a split eyebrow (Week 5 Lecture).

Importance of Building Rapports with Suspects

Building rapport with suspects is vital as it helps to create an amicable relationship. In this way, one can acquire more information during the interrogation process (Week 4 Lecture). Suspects are often more open to giving information if they have a chance of receiving something in return or if they feel safe enough. It helps in gathering admissible evidence from the suspect as it creates a sense of guilt. It also helps the interviewee think that you are thinking along their lines showing shared expectations (Pounds, 2019). It also allows the interviewer to integrate verbal and non-verbal communication as it reveals aspects of empathy.

Types of Forensic Evidence

The probative evidence put forth by the victim has the potential to prove something. The evidence falls under several types, including; trace DNA. During the interview, the victim stated that the perpetrator spat on her after stealing her bag. She confessed to having wiped off the spit using her arm or her coat. The officer taking the statement makes inquiries on this as the saliva can determine the offender’s DNA. Another type is build the interviewer asks the victim for a description of the offender, which helps narrow down the search. Additionally, skin is a type of forensic evidence. Mrs. Smith struggled with the perpetrator to try and stop the theft of her bag, which may have resulted in scratching collecting DNA under the fingernails; however, such form of DNA may be ambiguous, reducing the evidence of the case (Morgan, 2018). Forensic evidence is vital to the matter as it helps maintain admissibility in a court of law (Peterson, 1987). It allows law enforcement to narrow down their search parameters until they capture the offender.

Actions that can help the Suspect feel Comfortable during the Interview

While the suspect’s comfort during an interview is often frowned upon, it is one of the strategies used in acquiring complete and admissible accounts of the events that occurred. One can take actions to ensure their comfort include; introducing oneself to the suspect in a manner that does not point to their power. The introduction should occur such that some of the suspect’s fears are put to rest. In most cases, the interviewer tends to hold their environment over the suspect’s head, impacting their ability to relay information. Thus, they should be respectful and professional (Week 4 Lecture). Another action is providing a setting where the interviewee feels comfortable. The temperature should be relaxed, with proper lighting, and the legal counsel should be present if needed. Finally, one can take breaks as the session progresses, giving the suspect time to take water or a food break. In most cases, this appeals to the suspect’s humanity, encouraging them to provide accurate accounts of the events that led to their arrest or questioning.

The Interview Guide

Topic 1 Their location on the night of the theft Topic 2   Any alibies if they give contrary accounts
Topic 3 Their occupation and residence Topic 4  What kind of car they drive/own
Topic 5  If they know the victim Topic 6  If they own a red sweatshirt or jumper
Topic 7 What did they do with the items inside the victim’s bag Topic 8  What is their account of the day’s events


Peterson, J. (1987). Use of Forensic Evidence by the Police and Courts. National Institute of Justice.

Pounds, G. (2019). Rapport-building in suspects’ police interviews: the role of empathy and face.

Morgan, R. (2018). The dangers of misinterpreted forensic evidence. TED Archive.

NIJ. (2003). Eyewitness evidence: A trainers manual for law enforcement.

Week 4 Lecture. (n.d). What is the PEACE model? victims and suspects account

Week 5 Lecture. (n.d). The victims code


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