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Raped, Then Jailed: The Risks of Prosecution for Falsely Reporting Sexual Assault Webinar
Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
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 victims have often faced sources of bias, based on unjustified suspicions that their report is a false allegation. This webinar focuses on the scenario where victims summon the courage to report a sexual assault, only to be disbelieved, mistreated, and later charged (often erroneously) with false reporting or associated crimes such as obstruction of justice, interfering with law enforcement, or providing false statements. The presentation will detail how these scenarios unfold, highlighting factors that distinguish an interview conducted with a victim versus a suspect in a criminal investigation, and we document how this can result in a false confession. We then conclude with a discussion of how this injustice can be prevented, by following recommended practices for sexual assault investigations and victim interviews.


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

  • Describe case scenarios where an individual reports being sexually assaulted to law enforcement, and is ultimately charged with false reporting or associated crimes.
  • Explain the role of coercive interrogation tactics in how these scenarios unfold.
  • Explore the two-phase decision-making process for determining whether prosecution is appropriate for falsely reporting a sexual assault or associated crimes.
  • Identify strategies for preventing the scenario, including best practices for sexual assault investigations, trauma-informed victim interviews, and improved responses by support people.



Sergeant Joanne Archambault,(Ret.)Sergeant Joanne Archambault (Ret.)
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, EVAWI, Colville, WA

Sergeant Joanne Archambault (Retired, San Diego Police Department) is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer for EVAWI, America's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving criminal justice responses to sexual assault.

Prior to founding EVAWI, Sgt. Archambault worked for the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) for almost 23 years, before retiring in 2002. From 1985 to 1988, she served as a Detective in the Child Abuse Unit, where she developed the first curriculum for the investigation of child abuse for the San Diego Police and Reserve Academy. Other assignments included Internal Affairs, the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Patrol, Crimes Against Persons and Gangs. In 1991, she revamped the sexual assault curriculum at the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Academy. During the last ten years of her service, Sgt. Archambault supervised the Sex Crimes Unit, which had 13 detectives responsible for investigating approximately 1,000 felony sexual assaults within the City of San Diego each year.

Throughout her career, Sgt. Archambault has worked tirelessly to improve criminal justice and community responses to sexual assault. For example, she authored or co-authored hundreds of reports, articles, chapters, and training materials of various kinds, including the first national training curriculum for sexual assault investigation produced by the National Center for Women & Policing. To enhance this work, she produced a series of training videos in 2001 entitled, Sexual Assault Training and Investigations: The Preliminary Response. She also served for five years as co-editor of the Sexual Assault Report, a bimonthly publication of the Civic Research Institute.

Sgt. Archambault has provided training for tens of thousands of practitioners, policymakers and others - across the country and around the world. She has also been instrumental in creating system-level change through individual contacts, as well as policy initiatives and recommendations for best practice.


This project is supported by Grant No. 2016-TA-AX-K010 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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