Policy: Sexual Assault Investigations

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide personnel in the Michigan State University Police Department (Department) with guidelines for responding to reports of sexual assault, to include: response protocols, investigation guidelines, victim support services, and collaboration with health and support service community partners.

POLICY

Model Policy

It is the policy of this Department that the current Michigan Sexual Assault Model Policy (Model Policy) shall be used to provide resources and information related to sexual assault investigations. The link to that model policy can be found on the Department’s technology page.

DEFINITIONS

Immediate Response

An immediate response occurs when an assault is dispatched that is reported within 120 hours (5 days) of the assault; which follows the best practice guideline for obtaining physical evidence.

Non-Immediate Response

A non-immediate response is defined as an incident that is reported more than 120 hours (5 days) after an assault has occurred.

PROCEDURES

Response

Basic response protocols for special victim crimes are found INV20. That policy outlines general rules and procedures to follow in all special victim crimes. This procedure addresses the unique nature of sexual assault calls for service.

The 9-1-1 Dispatch Center will be advised of response procedures, but the Duty Supervisor should monitor the details of any sexual assault calls for service being dispatched.

Immediate Response: The normal response protocols are followed and include:

Identify the relationship of the alleged perpetrator and victim.

Ensure the safety of the person, if threats are indicated against the victim.

Evaluate the medical needs of the person and needs for collecting evidence by medically trained personnel.

Identify whether they have a safe location to return to after filing their report.

Non-Immediate Response: The Department may determine that an immediate response is not needed for investigative reasons. Procedures listed in other policies should be followed (INV20), but these also apply to sexual assault investigations:

On-duty SVU team members working in uniform should respond in plainclothes to contact the victim, if possible.

Interview of the Victim/Suspect

Persons needed in the investigation must coordinate the interview of the victim to lessen the trauma imposed on the victim.

The Department has trained all sworn personnel in trauma-informed and victim-centered investigative techniques to facilitate the investigation and impact to the victim.

Responder Resources

MSU Sexual Assault Program

MSU Office of Institutional Equity

State of Michigan Model Policy