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The Road Ahead: Unanalyzed Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Show simple item record Ritter, Nancy 2018-12-20T17:32:33Z 2018-12-20T17:32:33Z 2011
dc.identifier.citation Ritter, Nancy. (2011). The Road Ahead: Unanalyzed Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases. National institute of Justice, 21 pgs. en_US
dc.description Report en_US
dc.description.abstract Untested sexual assault evidence is being discovered in police evidence rooms all across the country. In this report, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) offers an overview of the issue. We look at a variety of ramifications for the police and crime laboratories, for the courts and for the victims. It is unknown how many unanalyzed sexual assault kits (SAKs) there are nationwide. There are many reasons for this, but one is that tracking and counting SAKs is an antiquated process in many U.S. jurisdictions. Certainly, there may be legitimate reasons why some of the recently discovered unanalyzed SAKs were not sent to a lab. Not all evidence collected in an alleged sexual assault is going to be probative. For example, in cases where “consent” is an issue (the suspect admits sexual contact but maintains it was consensual), detectives may consider that the SAK does not add any important information to the investigation. That said, it is clear that we, as a nation, need to understand more about how law enforcement decides to submit a SAK to the crime lab for analysis (or not) and how cases are triaged for other investigation. Should all newly discovered SAKs be analyzed? What should a jurisdiction do when a large number of untested SAKs are discovered? Should officials try to come up with the resources to test them all — even cases that may be 25 years old — or should they establish a prioritization or “triage” process to determine which SAKs should be sent to the lab, and when? This report explores some of the reasons why the answers to these questions are not as straightforward as they may seem. Jurisdictions are using various approaches to tackle the untested SAK problem. However, developing scientific evidence to determine which approaches are the most effective — solving the most crimes with the greatest efficiency, considering current fiscal realities — will take time. This report also explores some of the issues behind “stranger” and “acquaintance” rape; implications for police investigation and case prosecution, particularly with respect to statutes of limitations; and the sensitive and multifaceted issue of victim notification in older cases.-As the nation grapples with the discovery of thousands of older sexual assault kits, it is crucial that we balance justice, public safety and the victims’ needs. The goal is to move beyond the “crisis management” of the moment to the adoption of systematic practices, procedures and protocols that will prevent this situation from ever happening again. (Author Text) en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) en_US
dc.subject Synthesis en_US
dc.subject Sexual Assault en_US
dc.subject Sexual Violence en_US
dc.subject Rape en_US
dc.subject Rape Kit en_US
dc.subject Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit en_US
dc.subject Evidence en_US
dc.subject Crime Laboratory en_US
dc.subject Crime Lab en_US
dc.subject Forensic Evidence en_US
dc.subject Law Enforcement en_US
dc.subject Unsolved Cases en_US
dc.subject Cold Cases en_US
dc.subject Consent en_US
dc.subject Survey Results en_US
dc.subject Biological Evidence en_US
dc.subject Trace Evidence en_US
dc.subject Forensic Analysis en_US
dc.subject Untested en_US
dc.subject Unsolved Cases en_US
dc.subject Backlog en_US
dc.subject DNA Testing en_US
dc.subject Victim to Offender Relationship en_US
dc.subject Crime Victim Notification en_US
dc.subject Victim Notification System en_US
dc.subject Retraumatization en_US
dc.subject Victim Safety en_US
dc.subject Triggering en_US
dc.title The Road Ahead: Unanalyzed Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases en_US
dc.type Other en_US

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