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Creating a Victim Notification Protocol for Untested Sexual Assault Kits: An Empirically Supported Planning Framework

NCJ Number
251982
Date Published
Author(s)
Rebecca Campbell, Giannina Fehler-Cabral, Sheena Horsford
Annotation
This project collaborated with one community that has had large numbers of untested sexual assault kits (SAKs)—Detroit, Michigan—to develop an empirically supported planning framework for how to create a victim notification protocol for informing sexual assault victims about the status of the processing of their SAKs.
Abstract
In cities throughout the United States, hundreds of thousands of sexual assault kits (SAKs) have not been submitted by the police for forensic DNA testing. Given recent media attention and public outcry about this problem, many jurisdictions with large numbers of untested SAKs are deciding to test all previously unsubmitted SAKs, which raises complex issues regarding when and how victims ought to be notified about what has happened to the kits that were collected during their medical forensic examinations. The planning tool presented in this article contains 12 discussion questions that can guide communities through the process of creating a victim notification protocol tailored to the needs of their local jurisdiction. The authors review the evidence (both practice and research based) that can inform discussions about each of these 12 key questions. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: November 5, 2018