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The Police Interview

If the Sexual Assault Section is going to continue with the investigation, a detective from the Sexual Assault Section of the Edmonton Police will call you within approximately two weeks to schedule an interview with you at Police Headquarters.  When you arrive, please sign in at the front desk and ask to speak to the detective with which you have an appointment. That detective will then escort you to the Sexual Assault Section for your interview.

Your interview will take place in a comfortable room with a small couch and chair where only you and the detective will discuss details of your case, however, the interview will be videotaped for court purposes. An interview can take anywhere from half an hour to six hours on rare occasions, but  usually only about one to two hours.

In the interview you will be asked to describe everything you remember about the assault, and you will be asked to be very detailed and specific, even about parts of the sexual assault that make you uncomfortable. Being as honest and detailed as possible will help the detective in the investigation of your case.

After the interview, the detective will continue with her/his investigation, including contacting the suspect. Some will let you know when they have contacted the suspect, while others will not. If knowing when the suspect will be contacted is important to you, be sure to ask the detective to contact you after he/she has contacted the suspect.

As the investigation progresses, the detective will be in contact with you about the investigation and whether or not any charges will be laid. In some cases you may have to do a second interview, or look at a photo line-up. If the police do lay charges, the case continues on to the Crown Prosecutor’s office, and then to court.

Charges in a Sexual Assault

If the police decide not to press charges, it does not mean they do not believe you. We often encounter a number of reasons for not being able to pursue your case like not having enough physical evidence to prove the charges in court. The criteria for criminal prosecutions is quite stringent and sometimes, despite a full and truthful disclosure by you, the required evidence may not meet the standard set forth by the courts and your complaint may not result in charges.

If the police do not lay charges, you can contact the crown prosecutors’ office to lay charges yourself.  This process is often more difficult than having the police do it and you may still be told the case will not proceed to court. If the police do lay charges, the case continues on to the crown prosecutors’ office, and then to court.

In all of these scenarios, the police use an extensive referral network and will provide a referral whenever possible to assist you during and after the investigation. One of the possible referrals is Victim Services, who will most likely contact you. You can choose whether or not you would like to work with Victim Services.

If you decide you do not want to go through the court and legal process, you can still file a report with the police and a record of the sexual assault will remain on file in case you wish to pursue it at a later date.

In the end, the decision about whether or not to report the sexual assault to the police is up to you. The legal process can take up to two years from the initial report to the police to the court date. You will be the one going through the process, and therefore your wellbeing and comfort with the process are vital. If you choose not to report to the police you can still receive medical attention at any hospital and counselling through the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the Sexual Assault Centre - University of Alberta or the Saffron Centre Ltd in Strathcona County.