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Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2016
3 pages
This video and its transcript from the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Research for the Real World Seminars presents the Nevada Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Working Group's report on how they are addressing backlogged untested sexual assault kits.
The team emphasizes the importance of using a multidisciplinary, victim-centered approach in addressing complex issues that arise in responding to sexual assault. It also notes the importance of using available resources, including research and Federal support from NIJ, in making progress toward processing untested sexual assault kits. Among the issues discussed by team members is an electronic audit to determine how many untested sexual assault kits were in police custody (6,500 untested kits were identified in 2010-11). All team members speak of the importance of a respectful and empathetic interaction with persons who report being sexually assaulted, even though a significant amount of time may have elapsed since the sexual assault kit entered evidence storage. Also mentioned by the team is the importance of consulting the NIJ-FBI partnership that is focusing on testing sexual assault kits and creating national protocols on how best to handle the testing of the kits. The Nevada team includes the Nevada attorney general (the group leader) and representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, medical experts, forensic experts, and mental health experts. Team members emphasize using a victim-centered approach so as to cause minimal trauma to the victims.

Date Published: September 1, 2016