This third episode in the “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” mini-season of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Patricia Merlton, who draws on her work in sexual assault reform and forensic DNA analysis in discussing a new resource that will help criminal justice practitioners support sexual assault response reform.
Dr. Melton has developed a guide that addresses the complexities of sexual assault response reform. This resource highlights real-world solutions to improve the criminal justice processing of sexual assault cases while ensuring support for survivors. The resource is titled “Ensuring an Improve response to Sexual Assault; a Practitioner’s Guide to Successful Sexual Assault Response reform.” The guide contains material on the development, constituency, and functions of multidisciplinary teams as the key to a comprehensive and effective approach to addressing all aspects of the management of a sexual assault. The efficient and effective testing of sexual assault kits is a feature of the resource guide in the management of sexual assault cases. The engagement of the survivor in the services and processing of the case is given high priority in the resource guide. This engagement, however, must respect a survivor’s choices and preferences in the activities of case processing. This is important in building trust and motivating cooperation.
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