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Launch of article series on trauma-informed investigation of rape and serious sexual offences

We are delighted to announce the launch of a series of articles on the Open University’s ‘Open Learn’ site about the Trauma-Informed investigation of rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) edited by Dr Rachel Ward and Dr Emma Williams.

This series was developed further to a multi-university research project in collaboration with the police, CPS and third sector organisations known as Operation Soteria. The project was to understand how RASSO is investigated and prosecuted and design a new and more effective model. The Open University’s Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) team, led by Emma, considered the learning, development, and officer wellbeing aspect of the research.

Fundamental to the new RASSO National Operating Model (NOM) is the ethos that investigations must be victim-centred, suspect-focused, and context-led. It was clear that a Trauma-Informed approach would be vital. For example, a victim-centred approach involves ensuring procedural justice for the victim, that their voice is heard and as much as possible they can make choices. Being Trauma-Informed is closely aligned with this, and an understanding of the impact of trauma will help the investigator to be more effective in their victim-centred approach.

This series of articles considers different aspects of a Trauma-Informed approach in relation to the investigation of RASSO, with contributions from Dr Linda Maguire and Dr Jen Norman who are also part of the CPRL Op Soteria research team, Dr SJ Lennie from the Department for Policing Organisation and Practice, and Dr Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer from the University of Reading and involved with the Op Soteria research.

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