Section 4. Model Procedure

4.2 Initial Investigation

The officer allocated the case is a combination of investigator, adviser and advocate. From the start, the focus will be on bringing a swift and effective conclusion to the whole incident. The officer will gather good quality evidence for action against the perpetrator and help the individual make an informed decision about the options available.

Within three working days, the investigating officer will arrange an interview with the victim. The immediate aims will be to:

Give practical support to the victim and his or her family

Deal quickly with any physical damage or threats to security

Ensure swift action against any known perpetrator(s)

The first interview is very important. The victim needs to know what is going to be done and the investigating officer needs to gather as much information as possible in order to decide what can be done and to draw up an initial action plan.

The investigating officer should discuss with the victim where the interview should take place, whether a professional interpreter might help and whether a female interviewer would be preferred.

Using the standard report form RH2 the investigating officer will seek to establish the exact nature of the incident, the extent of the problem and its impact and to collect any evidence including names and addresses of witnesses, any photographic and documentary evidence. This process should provide the first complete statement from the individual and, due to possibility of future legal action, it should be as full and detailed as possible. There should also be a further assessment made of the need for additional security e.g. personal alarm, fireproof letterbox, plastic windows, CCTV and if available a professional witness.

At the end of the interview, the investigating officer should:

•  Have gathered and secured good quality evidence for action against the perpetrator.

•  explain to the victim the importance of reporting immediately any further incidents to the investigating officer and the police, as well as any additional support organisation.

•  encourage the victim to record any further incidents on the Diary Sheets (Form RH3)

•  explain the options, including support measures and possible action that might be taken against the perpetrators. (remembering not to proceed against the victim's wishes)

•  explain the transfer policy. If there is reasonable evidence of racial harassment an application for a transfer will be accepted as a high priority. There will be discretion to approve a transfer where it proves difficult to establish evidence of racial harassment. The investigating officer should also consider reciprocal arrangements with other housing providers in the area

•  agree contact arrangements including frequency and manner of the contact. The outcome of each contact will be recorded in the follow-up report form RH7.

•  give the victim a list of relevant emergency phone numbers - and an outline of how the complaint will be investigated.

Provide a support pack for Victims, translated into community languages, detailing the above but which includes diary sheets, and what the tenant can expect from their landlord including your complaints procedure. [more information on this page].

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