This report presents findings from a survey of publicly operated forensic crime labs that perform DNA testing.
Survey of DNA Crime Laboratories

The NSVRC and the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence offer the following talking point to support discussions about the March, 2013 Steubenville, Ohio Criminal Trial.

The report reveals that the backlog of untested rape kits in Los Angeles County is larger and more widespread than previously reported. Through dozens of interviews with police officers, public officials, criminalists, rape treatment providers, and rape victims, the report documents the devastating effects of the backlog on victims of sexual abuse.
Testing Justice: The Rape Kit Backlog in Los Angeles City and County

The NIJ-funded Survey of was conducted to estimate the number of unsolved criminal cases containing forensic evidence that had not been submitted to crime laboratories for analysis. Of crimes received by U.S. law enforcement agencies during 2007, there were an estimated total of 33,696 unsolved rapes 73% of which had forensic evidence collected.  State and local law enforcement agencies reported an estimated 27,595 unsolved (18%) rapes that had not been submitted to a crime laboratory. The study explores explanations for evidence backlogs and implications for addressing challenges faced by communities.

The 2007 Survey of Law Enforcement Forensic Evidence Processing

This comprehensive report of the Michigan Sexual Assault Systems Response Task Force is built on the work of four multidisciplinary workgroups: the Prevention Education Workgroup, the Survivor Services Workgroup, the Medical System Workgroup and the Criminal Justice System Workgroup. Each group identified barriers to justice and services for survivors of sexual assault, short and long-term remedies to eliminate those barriers and strategies for the implementation of the remedies. The recommendations come in the form of 'best practice recommendations', and 'recommendations'. Best practice recommendations address an improvement or change in policy, protocols and response and recommendations address legislative or fiscal change.
The Response to Sexual Assault: Removing Barriers to Services and Justice

This NIJ special report outlines the issue of untested sexual assault kits that remain in law enforcement custody and evidence rooms and the impact that these kits have on communities and sexual assault response.  The report addresses victim notification and protocol when a kit is sent for testing and appropriate follow up.

Read this special report.

This guide examines the use of polygraph tests and other truth-telling devices (sometimes called “lie-detector tests”) in sexual assault investigations. It is meant to support the Violence Against Women Act and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005) provision that truth-telling devices must not be used with sexual assault victims as a condition of charging or prosecution of an offense. This guide examines special issues relevant to using truth-telling devices with sexual assault victims. Legislative and judicial actions that have been taken as a result of this debate will also be discussed. Victim advocates, law enforcement officers, and policy makers may use this guide to develop policies, practices, and procedures and to improve collaborations regarding the use of truth-telling devices as the VAWA 2005 provision is adopted across the United States. 

 The Office for Victims of Crime is pleased to announce the release of the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report, the first comprehensive assessment of the victim assistance field in nearly 15 years. The Vision 21 initiative gave participants the opportunity to engage with a broad spectrum of service providers, advocates, criminal justice professionals, allied practitioners, and policymakers to address crime victim issues through a lens broader than their everyday work. The result of this collective examination, the report seeks to permanently transform the way crime victims are treated in this country. The Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report discusses the following:

  • Major challenges to the integration of research into victim services.
  • The tremendous need for crime victims to have access to legal assistance to address the wide range of legal issues that can arise following victimization.
  • The impact of advances in technology, globalization, and changing demographics on the victim assistance field.
  • The capacity for serving victims in the 21st century and some of the infrastructure issues that must be overcome to reach that capacity.

Furthermore, the final report outlines recommendations for beginning the transformative change, which fall into the following four broad categories:

  • Conducting continuous rather than episodic strategic planning in the victim assistance field to effect real change in research, policy, programming, and capacity building.
  • Supporting research to build a body of evidence-based knowledge and generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization, emerging victimization trends, services and behaviors, and victims’ rights enforcement efforts.
  • Ensuring the statutory, policy, and programmatic flexibility to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues.
  • Building and institutionalizing capacity through an infusion of technology, training, and innovation to ensure that the field is equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.

The cover story in this issue of the National Institute of Justice Journal discusses a survey that examined whether potential jurors who watched these shows were more likely to acquit if scientific evidence was not presented during trial.
The ‘CSI Effect’: Does It Really Exist?

This bulletin offers victim service providers an understanding of how DNA testing may be used in victims' cases, the process and procedures used, and the potential outcomes from the test.
Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers

Pages

Subscribe to Criminal Justice