Speaking with police about sexual violence can be intimidating and retraumatizing. You will be asked to remember and describe everything about the assault, which can be very difficult to do. Knowing what to expect from a police interview may help make the process less intimidating.
If you choose to report a sexual assault to police, you will be asked to:
- provide a description of the occurrence (what happened: who, what, when, where, etc.)
- provide a statement that may be audio or video recorded
- The recording can take place in the detachment, or in some cases, in a mutually agreed upon safe location
- Don’t worry if you feel unable to remember every detail
- clarify details through interview questions
- provide the names of any suspects, witnesses, and bystanders
- provide any physical evidence, such as photos of injuries and clothing
- keep in touch with the investigator/detachment
- contact them if you remember more details or information that might help the investigation.
You can expect the investigator to ask questions about the incident to get a better understanding of what happened or to help you remember some details.
Don’t worry if you can’t provide all this information at the initial interview. Often, trauma can affect our ability to recount incidents in chronological order. You can always follow up with the investigator with any details you remember after the interview.
If you want your report to be investigated, police will:
- gather evidence, such as a Sexual Assault Examination Kit, statements, witness accounts, etc.
- conduct interviews with you, the subject of the complaint, as well as possible witnesses
In all cases, you can choose to stop participating in the investigation at any time, even if you have already provided a statement.
For more information about what to expect when reporting and tips to help police investigations, visit the RCMP’s webpage: Information for sexual assault survivors.