Family violence as a repeat offence – legal implications for investigative interviewing of victims

Dr Kate Cashman1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

This presentation contributes to a multi-disciplinary discussion of family violence, through a legal and policing lens that focuses on building investigative interviewing capability and satisfying legal obligations of criminal law legislation. Family violence is often a crime without witnesses and with little by way of corroborating evidence, so a victim’s account obtained through interview, is crucial. Once offenders have been apprehended and investigations commence, it becomes extremely important that police officers are able to elicit disclosure of a narrative that supports a victim to tell their story and satisfies the legal requirements for separating those narratives into distinct recollections. In 2018, Tasmania introduced a charge of ‘persistent sexual abuse of a young person’ in section 125A of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas). This section somewhat relaxes the need for exact particulars given the often-numerous occasions abuse may occur, but clear and separate occasions must still be obtained in witness accounts for a charge to be laid under this section. Elements of an interview for family violence in Tasmania now include episodic memory training for the victim and ensuring police can separate the disclosure of separate incidents of violence at an appropriate time during an interview. If done well, this also reduce barriers to successful prosecutions of family violence offenders. Tasmanian police officers are trained in this method of interviewing as part of a unique training program run between the University of Tasmania, Tasmania Police and the Centre for Investigative Interviewing (Griffith University).


Kate has a PhD in law and forensic studies and teaches and trains police recruits and officers with the University of Tasmania in law and policing subjects and investigative interviewing with Tasmania Police. She is a researcher with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies and her research interests lie in forensic studies, police education, investigative interviewing and leadership and culture in policing organisations.


Dec 08 2021