A productive interview with domestic violence victims enables the maximum exchange of relevant information that is useful in the proceedings in a trial. The interviewer explains and elaborates the interview process and requires maximum cooperation from the victim so as to build a viable case to achieve justice. The strength-based approaches in the interview process allows case managers to address aspects of victim reassurance, the analysis of the victim's fears and increases the relevance of the information collected in the interview (McClam & Woodside, 2012).
Interview Excerpt (Appendix)
Beginning of the interview process
The interviewer's initial actions impact on the cooperation level of the interviewee during the interview and will subsequently affect the prosecution of the offender. The strength-based approach ensures that there is collaboration between the victim and the case manager to increase the empowerment of the individual after the interview encounter.
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Middle of the Interview process
When the victim approaches the case manager, the interviewee should show calmness and directness as attributes that build the trust of the domestic violence victim. The first encounter with the victim allows the case manager to directly ask the victim to lower their voice, talk in a slow manner and or talk slowly whenever the emotions escalate. These actions ensure that the case is accurately and truthfully detailed and that the victim gains stability after a traumatizing experience. The interviewer should directly ask the victim to narrate the incidence with openness while reassuring them of confidentiality as a measure of protection (McClam & Woodside, 2012).
End of the interview process
The case manager should show patience and therefore constantly repeat the unclear questions to the victim in an understanding manner. The questions such as inquiring the details of the events leading to the domestic violence should be non-accusatory and peculiar to the incident. The nature of the questions is objective because the motive of the offender cannot be relevant until there was intent to commit the offense due to the aspect of justifiable causes.
The case manager should show awareness and understanding for the victim’s confusions, fears, and embarrassments and therefore should reassure the victim's protection to create a favorable context of information sharing. Victims usually feel a sense of fear, immobilization, helplessness, guilt, self-blame and shame. The body language of such victims communicates the isolation, impairment and unresponsive nature of such individuals (McClam & Woodside, 2012). The case manager’s contextual responses to the feelings of the victims include the emphasis on the fact that the victim is not responsible for the violence, and they are safe in the presence of the case interviewer.
Another way of reassurance is the explanation that domestic violence happens to many people and that they should not feel isolated. To work to reduce reluctance from the victims angle includes the mobilization and encouragement of victims to identify physical assaults as a violation of their rights. The case manager should also remind the victim about the counseling programs that could curb the destructive behavior of the offender and promote the victim's recovery efforts (Simmons et al., 2015).
Additionally, getting a taped statement from the domestic violence victim enables the justification of the interview that will ensure justice to the offenses against the victim. The case manager should also document all the provided information to present the firm argument for the case during prosecution.
The strength-based approach of collaboration between the victim and the case manager during domestic violence interviews enables the willingness to cooperate to the questions to earn trust in the judicial system. Such information should be used to improve the status of contextual analysis of victims that present their cases in detail. The initiative promotes the trust that the judicial system lacks and serves justice in the vulnerable individuals’ cases.
Simmons, C. A., Howell, K. H., Duke, M. R., & Beck, J. G. (2015). Enhancing the Impact of Family Justice Centers via Motivational Interviewing an Integrated Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse , 1524838015585312.
McClam, T., & Woodside, M. (2012). The helping process: Assessment to termination. Belmont. CA: Brooks/Cole .
Interview questions for a victim of Domestic violence
Interviewee Name: _______________________________________________________
Please explain in detail what happened?
You seem to have sustained injuries. Please elaborate on who hit you?
Has he or she ever hit you before?
How did the person hit you? Did they use their open or closed hand?
Where in specific did they hit you?
Can you explain the number of times they hit you?
Were there any instruments used in the incidence of violence?
Did the person issue any threats to you during the incidence?
Does your house have any weapons?
What is your concern in case the offender faces arrest after you sought assistance?
Interviewer name: ____________________________________________________________
Sign : _____________________________________________________________________