Interviewing Intoxicated Victims: New Evidence for Practice

LE19 6BX, Leicestershire Police, Saint Johns
Monday 17 July 2017 (09:45-14:00)

How should investigators interview a sexual assault complainant who was under the influence of alcohol during the alleged attack?

This event will cover the effects of alcohol on memory, and address questions such as whether, when, and how intoxicated rape complainants should be interviewed by investigators to achieve best evidence. Evidence based guidance for practice will be given. The event will be of interest to both practitioners and academics. Attendance is free, but space is limited.


You can register for this event by visiting the eventbrite page.


A substantial number of women are sexually victimized each year in the UK. Many of these attacks occur whilst the victim is under the influence of alcohol, and these cases are challenging to prosecute. Victim intoxication raises issues regarding the accuracy of testimony. What is more, currently there are no national guidelines regarding how intoxicated victims should be interviewed by criminal investigators. Recently, research on the effects of alcohol on memory is beginning to accumulate.

This event draws upon the findings of a two-year British Academy funded project, which explored when the interview should be conducted, the types of questions that should be asked and the types of information that the victim may be able to remember. The project brought together researchers and people who work with victims in the public (including the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service) and voluntary sectors to discuss these issues and to, ultimately, develop evidence based guidance for practice.

In this final workshop, Drs Heather Flowe and Anna Carline will present the findings of this project, in the format of guidance for best practice. The event will include reflections upon this guidance from a range of practitioners, including

  • Professor Graham Davies, University of Leicester

  • HHJ Nicholas Dean QC

  • Lawrence English, Senior Senior District Crown Prosecutor, Head of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Team, CPS East Midlands

  • Michelle Keen, DI, Signal Team, Leicestershire Police

  • Mary Prior QC

  • Dr Kevin Smith, National Vulnerable Witness Adviser

  • Dr Jessica Woodhams, University of Birmingham

Project Steering Group: Dr Anna Carline, Julie Galagher, Dr Julie Gawrylowicz, Professor Graham Davies, DI Reme Gibson, Dr Clare Gunby, Dr Heather Flowe, DI Michelle Keen, Mary Prior QC, Dr Kevin Smith

For event and white paper updates, please follow:

This project was made possible by a British Academy/Leverhulme grant award made to Drs Heather Flowe and Anna Carline:

Dr Heather Flowe, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Loughborough University/University of Birmingham

Dr Anna Carline, Associate Professor in Law, University of Leicester: