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Moving Forward - How Research and Technology Are Expanding Sexual Assault Kit Testing

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
0 pages
This video and accompanying transcript cover a panel presentation at a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) research forum that addresses the use of research and technology that has expanded the laboratory testing of evidence from sexual assault kits.
The panel, which is composed of practitioners and administrators involved in forensic science in various Federal agencies, reviews the issues raised in processing sexual assault kits due to advances in DNA research and technology. Advances in DNA technology have potentially increased the value of DNA evidence collected and preserved with sexual assault kits. Twenty-five years ago, laboratories required large amounts of DNA to obtain a profile; however, since about 2000, DNA laboratories have been able to do DNA typing on small quantities of evidence. This has increased the use of sexual assault kits, but the time and resources required for the laboratory testing of every sexual assault kit has created backlogs of untested sexual assault kits. Over the years, improvements in the efficiency of DNA typing have decreased the time required to test a kit; however, the daily influx of sexual assault kits into law enforcement evidence storage is creating backlogs of untested kits. Further advances in the efficiency of DNA typing and additional investments in laboratory resources are required in order to expedite the testing of sexual assault kits.

Date Published: January 1, 2016