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National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2017
140 pages

This report by the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act Working Group presents its consensus recommendations on best practices for managing the processes for creating and processing sexual assault kits (SAKs).


The recommendations presented are not mandated by any governing body; they are recommended best practices based on research, well-established processes from other disciplines, extensive professional experience of the working group members, and input from the public. The recommendations provide a "roadmap" for a victim-centered approach that considers the best available practices for collecting, transferring, preserving, storing, and analyzing SAKs. Issues addressed in the recommendations include evidence collection; prioritization of evidence and time periods for its collection; evidence inventory, tracking, and auditing technology solutions; investigative and policy considerations; and communication strategies. The overall intent of the 35 recommendations is to ensure that the response to sexual assaults is collaborative and fosters victim engagement in the effort to create a more responsive, efficient, and effective criminal justice system response to sexual assault. Specifically, the recommendations are designed to optimize the collection of DNA evidence, the development of CODIS-eligible DNA profiles, and the identification of investigative leads. Although jurisdictions vary in their needs and resources, these recommendations provide a starting point for the development of plans and protocols for untested SAKs. 15 exhibits, extensive references and resources, and appended supplementary guidance and principles.

The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), in collaboration with NIJ, has developed a National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits Mobile App to download as a mobile-friendly version of this report. The Mobile App allows users to view the report on a mobile device, bookmark specific pages of the guide, and link to the Center for Forensic Nursing’s Multidisciplinary Glossary on Sexual Violence and the FTCoE web site. Additionally, the app can synchronize with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) web site for a summary of State laws associated with the users specific location to provide critical supplemental information.

Date Published: August 1, 2017