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Last edited: December 30, 2011

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  • Investigations of gender-based violence require techniques that do not degrade or further traumatize the survivors and that minimize intrusion into their lives. The investigation should maintain standards for evidence collection which can contribute to future prosecution of cases, if the woman or girl chooses to pursue legal recourse.
  • 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.