Dealing with the distress of people with intellectual disabilities reporting sexual assault and rape


When police officers interview people with intellectual disabilities who allege sexual assault and rape, they must establish rapport with the interviewee but deal with their distress in a way that does not compromise the interview’s impartiality and its acceptability in court. Inspection of 19 videotaped interviews from an English police force’s records reveals that the officers deal with expressed distress by choosing among three practices: minimal (e.g. okay) or no acknowledgement, acknowledging the expressed emotion as a matter of the complainant’s difficulty in proceeding (e.g. take your time) and rarely (and only if the complainants were apparently unable to resume their talk) explicit reference to their emotion (e.g. it’s obviously upsetting for you). We discuss these practices as ways of managing the conflicting demands of rapport and evidence-gathering.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: ?? 53981500Jl ??
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: © Sage 2015. The final publication is available via Sage at
Publication ISSN: 1461-7080
Last Modified: 27 May 2024 07:32
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 13:33
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://journal ... 461445615578962 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-05-05
Authors: Antaki, C.
Richardson, Emma (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-0399-2343)
Stokoe, E.
Willott, S.



Version: Accepted Version

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