The purpose of an investigation is:
To determine whether an offence was committed or to disprove an allegation
To identify victims and witnesses
To gather and preserve evidence of any kind that may be relevant
To discover the cause, manner and location of an offence
To prove the identity of the suspect or person(s) responsible
Where appropriate, to formulate the ground to bring a charge
To document the investigation, evidence, and prepare to present evidence at trial
To prevent further victimization (includes both the victim and others who may be affected, such as children).
The investigation process comprises the following:
An initial and prompt response to all alleged incidents
Ensuring the safety of all the persons involved
Identification of the crime and those directly involved (victim, witnesses, perpetrator(s))
Full explanation of procedures and the purpose of investigation to all parties concerned
Utilization of all possible investigation aids (e.g. fingerprint experts, physicians, nurses or other health staff specifically trained in forensic exams, psychologists, victim advocates)
Systematized collection of all relevant evidence (e.g. victim and witness statements, weapons, letters, notes, verbal remarks, evidence of physical harm to persons or property, samples of blood, semen, hair etc)
Documentation of the investigation and preparation of a court brief
Preparation and provision of support to the survivor and witness(es) during the court procedures
Excerpt from: UNODC. 2010. Handbook on effective Police responses to violence against women. UNODC. Vienna.
Throughout the investigation process, it is important that security personnel follow clear protocols in regards to protecting the rights of survivors, witnesses and suspected perpetrators. This is particular important during interviews with victims, witnesses and suspects, which must follow clear ethical guidelines.
Next Topic Evidence collection