Understanding the brain’s response to high-stress and/or trauma and asking non-leading questions and brain-based cues based on that understanding will increase the quality of the information gathered from the outset. That said, it is not unusual for many people that sharing information about high-stress or traumatic experience is a process rather than a one-time event. The tenets of Certified FETI – including non-judgment, neutrality, and empathy – promote, allow for, and encourage on-going engagement by victims, suspects, and witnesses within the criminal justice system.
Certified FETI methodology is about maximizing opportunities for information collection. There may be pertinent details that victims didn’t feel comfortable discussing during traditional interviews, but if put in the moment with brain-based cues, they may offer new information. While traditional interviews work in certain settings, but information gleaned from trauma victims during these interactions may be incomplete, incoherent or even incorrect. Using the Certified FETI Framework and engaging the participant with empathy may help them provide more information.
When victims provide inconsistent information that does not necessarily mean there is a credibility issue. Brain science also teaches that traditional telltale signs of deception are identical to the side effects of trauma and extreme stress, so it is crucial to approach trauma victims using Certified FETI methodology.
Certified FETI interviews are recorded, and thus memorialized, in adherence with the Certified FETI Framework. Recording is important because it provides visual context to victim statements. Adding the victim’s voice and image to that narration comes closer to providing a more accurate, nuanced recounting of that experience. You can use this nuanced recounting to paint a picture of the victim’s experience for the jury.