Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Outcomes in a Statewide Sample of Sexual Assault Cases   [open pdf - 6MB]

From the Executive Summary: "Sexual assault is a heinous crime that as much as a quarter of women nationally experience in their lifetime. Not only do victims suffer the terror and degradation of the assault, but they are further at risk of injury and a range of difficulties with mental health and functioning. Survivors are also at risk of re-victimization from informal and professional responses that question their credibility and in effect blame them for the assault. Only a small proportion of sexual assaults are prosecuted; only a subset of assaults are reported to police, only a portion of those cases reported to police result in arrest, and only small percentage of those arrested are ultimately prosecuted. When prosecution does ensue, enormous demands are placed on victims; they must testify in court about the traumatic events of the crime and face assaults on their credibility both in and outside the courtroom. In this difficult context, investigative methods that increase evidence against assailants while decreasing the burden on victims are especially important, and advances in the technology and expertise of collecting and analyzing injury and forensic evidence offer promise. Victims undergo difficult forensic medical examinations with the hope of contributing evidence that can help bring assailants to justice. The research community has a responsibility to develop a better understanding of how this information is used and actually relates to criminal justice actions. This study explores the role of injury evidence and forensic evidence in sexual assault cases using data from medical providers, crime laboratories and police."

Report Number:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service [NCJRS]: http://www.ncjrs.gov/
Media Type:
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