Report | Sept. 16, 2014

Evaluation of Military Criminal Investigative Organizations' Adult Sexual Assault Investigation Policies

DODIG-2014-108

Objective

We evaluated the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations’ (MCIOs’) adult sexual assault investigation policies to determine whether they aligned with:  

  • DoD requirements,
  • Service requirements,
  • Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) Quality Standards for Investigations (QSIs), and
  • Accepted law enforcement investigative techniques.

Observations

  • MCIO investigative policies generally align with DoD and Service requirements for adult sexual assault investigations.
  • MCIO investigative policy addresses the CIGIE QSIs that are related to conducting high-quality criminal investigations.
  • MCIO investigative policies consider nearly all of the applicable International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) investigative actions in their sexual assault investigative policies and guidance.
  • A few IACP investigative guidelines and investigative strategies are partially addressed in MCIO adult sexual assault investigative policies and guidance but could be enhanced with language modification.
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) investigative policies address a victim’s right to Special Victim Counsel (SVC) if involved in collateral misconduct; however, they do not address what the investigator should do when encountering victim collateral misconduct.
  • NCIS policy related to the victim preference statement (used when a victim decides not to cooperate with an investigation) contains potential victim blaming language.

Recommendations

  • The MCIOs evaluate IACP adult sexual assault investigative techniques identified as not currently aligned within MCIO policy for their relevance and applicability and consider incorporating them into their adult sexual assault investigation policy guidance.
  • The Director, NCIS, and the Commander, AFOSI, evaluate the benefits and efficiencies of including DoD and Service sexual assault investigative policies in MCIO policies.
  • The Director, NCIS, and the Commander, AFOSI, evaluate their procedures in a sexual assault investigation relating to victim collateral misconduct.
  • The Director, NCIS, evaluate policy related to the victim preference statement and remove language that could cause agents to make statements that might be construed as implied victim blaming.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Commander, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command expressed concerns regarding the timeliness and accuracy of the report. The Director, NCIS, and the Commander, AFOSI, agreed in part with our recommendations, but objected to our evaluation in a number of areas in the report. As a result of management comments, we performed additional evaluations of policies, evaluated work for relevance, and revised the report in some areas. No further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. 2011C019.