Why is it important to document and gather accurate information from victims or witnesses?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to gather and to properly document accurate information from victims and witnesses for two main reasons.  

First, it is important to do this so as to get an accurate picture of what happened.  The main goal of the investigator is to clearly understand what happened at the scene of the crime.  If the investigator is not clear as to what happened, it will be very difficult to determine who the guilty party is.  Therefore, gathering accurate information is of the utmost importance.

It is important to document the information for future use.  If investigators do not document the statements they get from victims and witnesses, they cannot pass the statements on to other investigators who might assist in the investigation.  When the case comes to trial, a lack of documentation can be fatal.  Witnesses might forget what they had said and might contradict themselves or give testimony that would not help the prosecution.  The defense might allege that the witnesses’ statements at the trial are the result of coaching, not accurate memories of what happened.  Proper documentation can show that witnesses’ testimony at the trial is consistent with what they said at the time that the crime occurred.