• Search Using:

EVAWI HOME > Webinars > Webinar Details
False Reports of Sexual Assault: Moving Beyond the Issues Webinar
Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
10:00 AM PT/11:00 AM MT/12:00 PM CT/1:00 PM ET

This webinar is approximately 90 minutes long.

Course Description

One of the most important challenges for law enforcement training in sexual assault investigation is the idea that many - or even most - reports are false. These cases often have a number of "red flags" that raise suspicion in the minds of officers, investigators, and others, but actually represent the realistic dynamics of sexual assault.

The presenter will review differences between a false report versus a baseless report, and inconsistent statements versus lying. He will also discuss how law enforcement can unintentionally create a "false report," by creating an environment where victims recant or withdraw. This will be contrasted with real case examples of false reports he has investigated throughout his career.


As a result of this session, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify the "red flags" that raise suspicion of a sexual assault report.
  • Recognize our gut reaction to these "red flags."
  • Recognize that these "red flags" are based on cultural stereotypes of "real rape."
  • Define a false report.
  • Recognize that some information provided by the victim may not be accurate, but this does not necessarily mean it is a false report.
  • Recognize how law enforcement professionals can create a "false report."


Additional Resources

A great many topics were addressed during this webinar, and in the Q&A at the end. For more information on these topics, we provide the following resources.

OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) modules:

False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate Sexual Assault

Clearance Methods for Sexual Assault Cases

Interviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault

Law and Investigative Strategy: What Kind of Sexual Assault Is This?

Information about the case in Lynwood, Washington:

An Unbelievable Story of Rape (article)

A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America (book)

PBS News Hour video

Start by Believing philosophy:

Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals


Tom Tremblay PictureCarlton Hershman
Detective, San Diego Police Department (Ret.), San Diego, CA

Detective Carlton Hershman is a 30-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, retiring in April of 2017. Throughout his career, Detective Hershman worked several assignments including Patrol, Juvenile Investigations, Narcotics, Special Investigations Unit, Homicide, Sex Crimes, Elder Abuse, and the C.A.T.C.H. Team (Cyber Unit). During his time with the Sex Crimes Unit, he investigated more than 1,300 sexual assault cases over a nine-year period.

Detective Hershman is an instructor at the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Academy on topics such as sex crimes investigations, sex crimes laws, interviewing and interrogation, and Investigations 101. He also presents at San Diego area colleges and universities on acquaintance rape and sexual assault by intoxication. Detective Hershman is a lifetime member of the California Sexual Assault Investigators' Association, and he has testified numerous times in the San Diego County court system as an expert in sex crimes investigations and victimology.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K015 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
© Copyright 2020 End Violence Against Women International. Site created by Threegate Media Group