National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), 2017
The report describes a victim-centered response to sexual assault cases that positively impacts sexual assault response, the experiences of victims, and ultimately results in safer communities.
An NIJ working group consisting of victims, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse and medical examiners, prosecutors, forensic scientists, and law enforcement officials, created the report in response to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013, which focuses on the accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence in sexual assault investigations. The group developed 35 recommendations that provide a roadmap for collecting, transferring, preserving, storing and analyzing sexual assault kits. The recommendations apply to medical professionals, members of law enforcement, victim advocates, prosecutors and laboratories.
Jurisdictions can evaluate their individual needs and resources and use these recommendations to develop or enhance policies and protocols for untested sexual assault kits. The best practices are designed to improve evidence collection and preservation. They also outline steps agencies can take to ensure consistency and uniformity in the way evidence is prioritized and transferred.