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The Importance of Victim Cooperation in Solving Sexual Assaults - Interview With Dr. Bill Wells

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
0 pages
This is the transcript and a video of an interview with Dr. Bill Wells regarding the goals and findings of a project in which he was involved with the Houston Police Department (HPD) that addressed HPD's problem of sexual assault kits not being screened or processed for DNA evidence.
The analysis of the problem led to the conclusion that victim involvement and interest in the case tended to provide an incentive for investigators to be more timely and structured in processing sexual assault kits for DNA evidence. The decision was made to use a portion of the funds for the research project to hire a justice advocate (a social worker skilled in interacting with vulnerable individuals so as to facilitate the provision of information to sexual assault victims and address their concerns. By interacting with both victims and investigators, the advocate facilitated progress in case processing, which included the testing of sexual assault kits for DNA evidence. The justice advocate position, which was initially a trial experiment for the project period, received such positive feedback that it is now a permanent position in HPD's budget.

Date Published: April 1, 2014