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Why Were So Many Sexual Assault Kits Not Tested in Detroit? - Interview With Dr. Rebecca Campbell

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
0 pages

This study of the risk factors associated with the creation of Detroit's backlog of untested sexual assault kits focused on the various interacting risk factors that bear on this problem.


One of the risk factors found in Detroit was the absence of a policy or protocol for the processing of sexual assault kits. Decisions made by individuals at each stage of the process could stop the process without any review of the decision. Decisions about testing might be made by an individual police officer, a laboratory staff member, or a prosecutor that would prevent the completion of the testing. The decisions about whether a kit was going to be tested in Detroit over the 30-year period examined in the study were ,made by individuals on a case-by-case basis. Another risk factor was an insufficient number of laboratory staff who could perform the testing. The same was true for the staffing of the police sex crime unit and the number of prosecutors experienced in dealing with sexual assaults. Other risk factors were the lack of informed cooperation between medical personnel who collected evidence from the victim for the kit and investigators assigned to the case, as well as the lack of trained victim advocates who could monitor case processing on the victim's behalf.

Date Published: April 1, 2014