The long-term GOAL of the investigators program of research is to provide compelling evidence to support an expansion in time for cervical-vaginal evidence collection and thereby,improve the investigation, prosecution and conviction outcomes for raped minority women. The purpose of the proposed research is two-fold: 1) to explore, in monogamous racial minority couples, the presence or absence of post-coital DNA at baseline, and 4, 7, and 9 days post-unprotected coitus; and 2) to identify variables that diminish or enhance DNA recovery. More specifically, the research aims to answer the following questions: 1) what is the time period in which it is possible to collect post-coital DNA in minority women using Y-STR laboratory methods; and 2) what are the physiological conditions, factors, or activities in minority couples that influence post-coital DNA recovery. We hypothize that non-white couples will have similar DNA recovery and influences as that found in the investigators prior research of predominantly white couples.
Research Design and Methods
The proposed research will use a prospective, repeated measures design with subjects including dyads of non-white minority women and their partners serving as their own controls. A mixed methods approach will be used.
There are 4 phases to this project: (1) IRB full review for minority proxy couples; (2) recruit, collect, and laboratory development of samples; (3) evaluate data from laboratory and questionnaires; and (4) disseminate the research.
Criminal Justice System Improvement
Evaluation of the timing of evidence collection procedures for minority proxy couples does not exist. This research will improve the criminal justice system response [NIJ Priority] to racial minority victims. By validating similar DNA recovery, this research may provide the evidence for policy change for health care and criminal justice response [NIJ Priority] to reporting minority women. The research may advance the decisions made by law enforcement [NIJ Priority] and laboratories to process delayed-reporting cases, thereby providing evidence to support the expansion (or not) of the 72-hour limit for minority woman - evidence found in cases with delayed-reporting could enhance prosecution and convictions [NIJ Priority].