Alliance: Police Interaction Study
Police Interaction Study
The Police Interaction Research Project was designed with two goals in mind. First, to collect as much information as possible about the interactions that occurs between Police Officers and survivors following a sexual assault. Second, to collect this information in a way that protected the confidentiality of both survivors and the participating programs. With these points in mind the following research questions were developed:
 The Police Interaction Research Project: A Study of the Interactions that Occur Between the Police and Survivors Following a Sexual Assault July 2001 Harriet Lessel, (pdf)
1. What happens when a survivor has a negative or positive experience with the
2. Are there any identifiable patterns in these interactions?
3. When a survivor has a negative experience with the Police, are these isolated problems specific to individual cases or do they represent a pattern common to sexual assault cases and the NYPD?
Ten rape crisis programs representing fifteen hospitals across the city participated in the project, which was constructed in two phases. Phase One consisted of a brief survey (entitled the Police Interaction Report, or PIR) for all sexual assault cases where the Police were involved. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they would summarize the survivor’s experience with the Police as positive, negative, neutral, or mixed. Over a period of 8 months 200 PIR’s were collected.
Phase Two consisted of telephone interviews with 25% of the advocates and social workers in the PIR surveys. The main question in the interview was: "What can you tell me about what happened between the survivor and the Police?" Respondents were encouraged to recount whatever they remembered, and they were also asked why they felt the interaction was positive or negative. In the majority of these cases survivors had been seen within 24 hours of the assault in a hospital emergency room. Special Victims Detectives were involved in 60% of these cases, Uniforms in 58% and regular Detectives in 15%. [ Read the full report (pdf)]
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