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Challenging Victims: The Delicate Dynamics of Drug & Alcohol Facilitated Sexual Assault Webinar
Friday, September 22nd, 2017
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

Sexual assault, especially non-stranger assaults in alcohol and drug-fueled settings often involve some of the most difficult and delicate case dynamics when it comes to working with victims and witnesses. Successful collaboration between investigators, victim witness advocates, and prosecutors is essential to gaining victim trust, and maintaining victim cooperation throughout the length of the case.

This presentation will detail best practices involved in making initial victim contact, collaboration between prosecutors and investigators, interviewing victims prior to the charging decision, requesting additional follow-up by investigators, and using expert witnesses to explain victim-perpetrator dynamics in sexual assault cases.

The presenters will also discuss how alcohol can affect the way a victim behaves during and after the assault, can impair memory, and the challenges often inherent in victim statements, including inconsistencies, omissions, and untruths. They will describe strategies for increasing the accuracy of a victim's statement-which is often a significant issue when the sexual assault was preceded by a night of overindulgence by both the victim and perpetrator.


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

  • Tailor an approach to initial victim contact designed to build trust and maximize information gathering.
  • Maintain a working relationship of trust and transparency with victims in order to facilitate cooperation throughout the life cycle of a case.
  • Identify areas in each case where expert testimony would assist the trier of fact.
  • Identify the effect of alcohol on behavior and memory, identify the dose-dependent nature of impairment due to drinking, and identify at least two legal drugs that can increase the impact of alcohol consumption.



Herbert Tanner, Jr., JD PictureHerbert Tanner, Jr.
JD, Trainer / Consultant, HR Tanner Consulting LLC, Portland, MI

Mr. Tanner began his career in private practice. In 1994, he joined the Prosecutor's Office in Montcalm County, Michigan. He was the Director of the Violence Against Women Project for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM) from 2003 to 2016. While still in private practice, he was named 1990 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of Michigan. In 2003, he received PAAM's Distinguished Faculty Award.

He is a frequent lecturer and instructor for state and national prosecutor and law enforcement organizations. He's presented on the impact of the Crawford case, ethics, domestic violence prosecutions, sexual assault and the impact of trauma on investigation and prosecution, expert testimony in domestic and sexual assault cases, cross examination of experts, and DNA evidence. Mr. Tanner has lectured on sexual assault trial advocacy, ethics, and evidenced based domestic violence prosecutions for the National District Attorney's Association (NDAA). He has presented for national organizations including the Battered Women's Justice Project, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, both at its International Conference and as faculty for its Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women, Campus Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women, and the Train-the-Trainer Program.

Mr. Tanner's articles have been published in The Georgia Prosecutor, American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section Newsletter, the Michigan Bar Family Law Journal, NDAA's Prosecutor magazine, and the Sexual Assault Report. He co-authored the Michigan Prosecutor Sexual Assault Manual, published in 2013.

Wendy Patrick, JD PictureWendy Patrick
JD, PhD, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County District Attorney's Office, San Diego, CA

Dr. Wendy Patrick is a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney, recently named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year by the California State Bar's Public Law Section. She has also been recognized by her peers as one of the Top Ten criminal attorneys in San Diego by San Diego Daily Transcript. She has completed over 160 trials ranging from hate crimes, to domestic violence, to first-degree murder.

In her current assignment in the Special Operations Division, she handles sensitive cases involving public officials, officer involved shootings, and attorney misconduct. In her previous assignment in the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, Dr. Patrick prosecuted sexually violent predators, human traffickers, stalkers, rapists, and child molesters. She is co-chair of both the statewide California District Attorneys Association Sexually Violence Predator Committee, and Human Trafficking Committee.

Her doctoral thesis for her PhD focused on the psychology of attraction used to seduce victims and their families. She has been involved with the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, the San Diego Child Protection Team, and the Sexual Assault Response Team, from whom she received the SART Response with a Heart Award for her significant contribution to the professional field of sexual assault prosecution.

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.
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