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Sexual Assault Kit Evidence Tracking: Managing Critical Information

NCJ Number
252596
Date Published
November 2016
Length
4 pages
Annotation

Since previous research found that most U.S. law enforcement agencies do not have a computerized system for tracking sexual assault kit (SAK) evidence within their agencies or the point of SAK collection through adjudication, this report provides an overview and key considerations for jurisdictions interested in implementing or improving evidence-tracking systems for sexual assault evidence.

Abstract

Evidence tracking systems enable jurisdictions to record, catalog, and track evidence as a case proceeds through the criminal justice system, which facilitates successful investigations and prosecutions. Evidence tracking systems designed to manage SAK evidence give jurisdictions the ability to manage and track the status of SAKs, including the storage, testing, and transport of the evidence. Some SAK tracking systems also provide investigators the ability to capture additional offender behavioral and modus operandi (MO) data that can assist them in future investigations. In providing basic information on evidence tracking systems, this report aims to facilitate a jurisdiction's efforts in SAK evidence reform. It first explains why such systems are important, including the establishment of evidence tracking, case management, and victim notification mechanisms. The report then explains what such systems do, including collecting/cataloging key information on SAK evidence, tracking/auditing evidence status as cases move through the system, the provision of a written, detailed report to various criminal justice agencies involved in the case, and descriptions of items in each SAK. Since evidence tracking systems can vary in their complexity and capabilities, which affects a system's cost, this report also outlines issues in assessing the selection of a system, including having a single or multi-jurisdictional system, building or buying a system, installing the system, level of ongoing support needed, and costs for both implementation and maintenance. A series of recommendations are offered for getting started. 4 resource listings

Date Published: November 1, 2016