94% of police personnel believe rape victim videos could increase conviction rate

A survey conducted by scientists at Griffith University, Australia, and the University of Portsmouth, England has revealed overwhelming arguments for the filming of rape victim interviews.

Police in England, Wales, New Zealand and other countries are reportedly moving towards the video recording of such interviews believing them to provide more effective, convincing evidence, and less traumatic for the victim.

The researchers questioned more than 100 police investigators, supervisors and specialist adult sex crime interviewers for the study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology. 94 per cent of participants believed video interviewing a person who claims to have been raped would help ensure more complete, accurate and reliable information from the complainant, who is often the sole source of evidence in these types of cases.

As well as being less traumatic for the victims, if the initial interview is videoed, it is possible that the victim may not have to appear in court to give evidence at all, which can be a troubling and distressing experience.

Dr Becky Milne, of the University of Portsmouth, said:

“We would like to see a system where video interviewing is more commonplace. One of the key reasons video interviewing is beneficial is it’s likely to save hours of police officer time and immeasurable stress to the victims of crime.
As it stands, police have to interview complainants for two reasons – they need information to judge if a crime has taken place in order to then be able to investigate it, and they need evidence that is admissible in court and likely to help secure a conviction. Video interviewing gives them both at once in the way written statements often don’t.”

Despite concerns over resources, time restraints, and assumptions being made on the victims' composure during the interview, the overwhelming response was that videoing victims would be landmark move in the conviction of rapists, which at present is at a worryingly low level.

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