Jamie Fillmore visited us from the USA and working under an internship as a part of her degree in Forensic Science at Mountain State University, West Virginia. After four years with the US Marine Corps as a Morse Code Intercept Operator and Signals Analyst, graduating first in her class, Jamie felt drawn to obtaining her degree at Mountain State. This was her first visit to Europe
"As a part of my degree I need to write an end of year dissertation. By accepting an internship I am able to examine the differences in technique and the legal systems of the Uk and the USA and make comparisons. An immeduate noticeable difference is the restriction in access to personal information; in the USA information is open - e.g. criminal records and credit data - whereas the United Kingdom falls under the auspices of a Data Protection Act"
"Attitudes towards people convicted of offences against children are also markedly different. The USA has a paedophile registry; convicted paedophile's must update their parole - information is available online as to where an offender resides and they are not allowed to live near schools. While some people in the UK are campaigning for what is termed "Sarah's Law" - after Sarah Payne - UK law does seem to protect the offender to a greater degree"
"On a lighter note, a week or so after starting I accompanied (with some trepidation) a couple of Investigators who were due to speak at a dinner in Romsey as the dude who runs our office there had other commitments. I was so pleasantly surprised at the hospitality extended by the Rotary Club who were our hosts. As it ended rather late (not counting Andy insisting on a pub visit afterwards) we stayed over in the New Forest. Having talked through most of the night and gone to bed at 4 a.m. I did insist on going to find some of the roaming New Forest ponies everyone had talked about!"
"Sadly, the issue of drink spiking and date rape in the United Kingdom is taken less seriously than in the USA. I am currently involved in a support project for one such victim and have researched the subject extensively. Forensic support is increasing all the time - a newly researched innovation at Cambridge University is that of testing trace material remaining in hair samples (providing hair has not been restyled or extensively cut) even months after the event"
"Answers have a very high profile programme that facilitates prevention at events and have been able to help a number of victims in the past. In my personal view, however, the whole issue does seem to be taken more seriously in the USA than over here; in America, a victim's word seems to count for more. Some perpetrators who end up jailed in the USA seem more likely to get away with it under English Law; in order for a case to end in conviction, there is far greater pressure for a UK victim to attend a medical examination, possibly at a time when they are confused and unclear about what has happened to them"
"Date rape statistics here are rising, yet I understand estimates that only something like 1 in 20 victims go to the authorities while in the US this estimate is much higher, probably a reflection of the greater support US victims may feel. Universally, however, my impression is that regardless of differences in support levels the feeling of victims in both countries is one of helplessness and frustration at a justice system that seems to have room for improvement"