skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 251588 Find in a Library
Title: Untested Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Date Published: March 2016
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Program/Project Description; Report (Study/Research); Report (Summary); Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Article; Web Page/Site
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing the widespread problem among U.S. law enforcement agencies of backlogs of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that have not been submitted to crime laboratories for testing, this paper reviews the methodology and findings of action-research projects in Detroit, MI, and Houston, TX, intended to find solutions to this problem.
Abstract: An overview of this problem focuses on reasons for the prevalence of SAK backlogs. In 2011, NIJ awarded action-research grants to the Houston Police Department and the Detroit Prosecutor’s Office. Both sites formed multidisciplinary teams to examine the SAK backlogs and then develop effective, sustainable responses for addressing the problem. One of the most important findings from both jurisdictions is the value of forming multidisciplinary teams to address the issue. This paper also reports on a NIJ-funded study in Los Angeles, which examined the role of DNA testing of SAKs in the backlog. This study assessed the efficacy of DNA testing and determined the criminal justice outcomes from testing SAKs in the backlog (arrest, charge, convictions) within the first 6 months after the kits were tested for DNA. The study unexpectedly found that in the first 6 months after testing 371 SAKs, no new arrests were made; new charges were filed in only one case, and there were two convictions. Further, it is probable that the DNA testing was not responsible for the single filing or the two convictions. A similar study in New Orleans is also summarized. This paper provides online access to reports on these projects.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): California; DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid); DNA Typing; Michigan; NIJ grant-related documents; NIJ Resources; Rape evidence kits; Rape investigations; Sex offense investigations; Texas
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.