New External Resources

National Institute of Justice Special Report

In June 2016, the National Institute of Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice released a special report entitled Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults which examines the reasons behind the untested rape kit backlog and what lessons we have learned from jursidictions that are currently implementing reforms.

In addition, researchers examine the challenges often faced by prosecutors and investigators after the kits have been identified such as how to notify survivors, a process called victim notification, and the most efficient means of testing: all at once or in batches. 

This report helps paint the picture of where we are now, how we got here, and what work remains to be done to ensure that this does not happen again. 

The Cuyahoga County SAK Pilot Research Project

In the fall of 2014, The Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University was approached by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) to conduct a pilot research study to help examine the state of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) being tested, investigated, and prosecuted by the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

Funded by the prosecutor’s office, a team of researchers at the Begun Center examined a random sample of 243 cases and looked at police and investigative reports, forensic lab reports, and criminal histories. This intensive examination of victims, perpetrators, and case processes allowed them to help the CCPO improving the overall processes for testing, investigation, prosecution, and data collection. 

Out of this research study, the team produced a number of important and groundbreaking briefs on process, data and methodology, survivor patterns, and serial vs. single sexual offenders. The most shocking findings involved the perpetrators: data showing that the majority of cases involved serial offenders and that serial and one-time offenders exhibit entirely different behaviors when committing sexual assaults. 

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