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Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination Research Forum: Summary of Research Questions Identified

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2012
24 pages
This forum - sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) - explored gaps in research related to the technical aspects of sexual assault medical forensic examination (SAMFE), so as to identify what research is needed to bring a stronger evidence base to the SAMFE.
Evidence-based SAMFE practices are essential for the standardization of practices across jurisdictions and the effectiveness of the examination process in facilitating victim healing, case investigation, and prosecution. The forum focused on the following topics: types of evidence collected; examination technology; standardizing the evidence kit; evolving DNA technology; and the potential use and logistics of telemedicine during the examination. The forum discussion was limited to adult/adolescent victim examination and issues applicable at the national level. Forum participants included sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFE), victim advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, forensic laboratory personnel, researchers, Federal agency personnel, and one sexual assault survivor. Participants were asked to identify SAMFE technical practice concerns and challenges, research gaps, unique issues, and relevant research questions. This diverse group of participants was supportive of the "translational criminology" approach to research. This is a strategy for transforming criminal justice through research. By bringing evidence to bear on crime policies and practices, researchers can build a bridge between research findings and the challenges of countering crime and improving justice. Appended list of participants and the forum agenda