In this first episode of the season entitled “Perspectives on At-Home Sexual Assault Kits” in the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series, Dr. Julie Valentine, a researcher and sexual assault nurse examiner, is interviewed about the use of at-home sexual assault kits (SAKs).
An introductory note indicates that as a researcher in sexual assault response reform and a sexual assault nurse examiner, Dr. Valentine is a subject-matter expert on collecting evidence in sexual assault cases. She discusses her work in sexual assault response reform and her perspective on the role of at-home SAKs in sexual assault cases. In discussing her current work and focus, she indicates that it pertains to SAKs and how they are managed in forensic science practice. She is currently involved in examining the prosecution of sexual assault cases. In discussing the function of SAKs, she mentions the National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits, which address what to include in SAKs and provide guidance for multidisciplinary stakeholders in deciding what to include in each kit, based on research. The interview then focuses on the at-home sexual assault kits. At-home kits have swabs and envelopes like SAKs used by professionals in health care settings; however, users will not have the expertise of a healthcare professional to collect the evidence. Dr. Valentine’s concern about the use of at-home SAKs is that survivors who use them will not receive the health care and advocacy they need. She also worries that survivors who use at-home SAKs may have the false hope that collecting evidence on their own will increase the effectiveness of the prosecution of the offender.
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