I once reviewed a rape report written by
a female officer. In the narrative, the
officer wrote, "The victim reports the
suspect penetrated her vagina with his
penis, (so far so good) and the suspect
came." CAME? Not good...not good at
When you write rape reports, or any
sexual assault report for that matter,
you're going to use words like penis;
vagina; anus; ejaculate (...remember
CAME?); fellatio; cunnilingus, masturbate,
erection, etc. When you're describing
the sexual acts committed by the
suspect, never...never use slang or
colloquial terms when describing sex acts
or body parts associated with sexual acts.
Now...your concern with using proper
terms ends when it comes time to
document statements made by the
suspect. As far as your investigation is
concerned, what the suspect says --
exact words of the suspect -- can be
just as important -- sometimes more so
-- as how he commits the rape.
No matter how insulting, offensive, or vile
a suspect's statements to a victim may
be, it is important that the victim repeat
those statements to you in the suspect's
exact words so that you can document
those statements...exactly. Now, you
might point out that asking the victim to
repeat such offensive statements could
produce even more trauma for the
victim. If that is the case, simply ask the
victim to write the suspect's statements.
In either event, explain to the victim the
importance of accurately documenting all
aspects of the crime.
I'm making a big deal on this, because
you're going to see it often. In fact,
you'd possibly be susceptible to this
error were you not reading this.
A weapon is a gun, knife, blunt object, or
any identifiable object that by its physical
composition is capable of inflicting serious
bodily injury or death.
All of your report formats are going to
have a field (box) to list a tool or weapon
used. When a police officer takes a
report of a robbery where the suspect
displays no weapon, the weapon used is
"none"...a no brainer. However, when it
comes to rape reports, some officers get
temporarily stuck on stupid. When no
weapon is displayed during the rape,
some officers will list "penis" as the
Listing "penis" as a weapon will not
damage your case, but it will give the
prosecutor, defense attorney, judge,
jurors, or anyone else who sees it, a
good laugh at your expense.
A rapist isn't that different from any
other criminal when it comes to
establishing a method of operation (MO).
While a rapist may escalate his level of
violence over time, the way he rapes, and
the way he talks will remain pretty
constant. When you write your rape
report, you should do so while thinking
that some other police officer may, in the
future, read your report and think --
momentarily -- that the rape which that
officer is currently investigating has
already been reported.
The narrative of a rape report can
become pretty graphic. In fact, your
narrative could read like a chapter from a
pornographic novel. However, a rape is
what it is. While the subject matter will
be offensive, the way you describe the
events, using proper terminology, will
make all the difference in making your
report an accurate and comprehensive
description of a vicious sexual assault.
The big difference between a rape report
and other crime reports is SEX. When a
police officer submits a poorly written
robbery report with grammatical errors
and misstatements, the officer looks
stupid. When a police officer submits a
similarly written rape report, the officer
looks really stupid.
"...what the suspect says -- exact
words of the suspect -- can be just
as important -- sometimes more so
-- as how he commits the rape." ~
Barry M. Baker
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