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NCJ Number: 51797 Find in a Library
Title: UTILIZATION OF MEDICALLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE IN CASES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT - RESULT OF A SURVEY
Journal: JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES  Volume:23  Issue:4  Dated:(OCTOBER 1978)  Pages:809-823
Author(s): R L WEAVER; N T LAPPAS; W F ROWE
Corporate Author: American Acad of Forensic Sciences
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: American Acad of Forensic Sciences
Colorado Springs, CO 80901-0669
George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Sale Source: George Washington University
Dept of Forensic Sciences
02036 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: URBAN POLICE AGENCIES AND STATE AND LOCAL FORENSIC SCIENCE LABORATORIES IN THE EASTERN U.S. WERE SURVEYED ON THE COLLECTION AND USE OF MEDICALLY OBTAINED SPECIMENS AS EVIDENCE AND ON SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT.
Abstract: TWO QUESTIONNAIRES (NOT INCLUDED) WERE USED: ONE WAS SENT TO POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND THE OTHER TO CRIME LABORATORIES. THE LAW ENFORCEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE WAS DESIGNED TO OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE TYPES OF MEDICAL FACILITIES THAT EXAMINE VICTIMS, THE PROCEDURES USED BY POLICE IN OBTAINING EVIDENCE FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS, THE TYPES OF EVIDENCE COLLECTED, PROBLEM AREAS IN EVIDENCE COLLECTION, AND AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT. OF THE 122 AGENCIES CONTACTED, 67 RESPONDED. THE SAMPLE SHOWED WIDE DIVERSIY IN CASE LOADS WITH THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF RAPES AND SEXUAL ASSAULTS FROM TWO TO FOUR INCIDENTS PER MONTH. THE LABORATORY QUESTIONNAIRE WAS SENT TO 98 LABORATORIES, AND 35 RESPONDED. IT OBTAINED DATA ON TYPES OF EVIDENCE ROUTINELY SUBMITTED FOR ANALYSIS IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES, THE LABORATORY'S POLICY ON EVIDENCE ANALYSIS, THE TYPES OF ROUTINELY CONDUCTED ANALYSES, AND ANY AREAS WHERE THE LABORATORIES FELT IMPROVEMENT WAS NEEDED. FINDINGS SHOW THAT A GENERAL AWARENESS EXISTS AMONG THE SAMPLE POLICE DEPARTMENTS OF THE POTENTIAL VALUE OF BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS AS EVIDENCE IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES. HOWEVER, A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF POLICE AGENCIES REPORTED PROBLEMS IN COORDINATION AND COOPERATION, EITHER WITH EXAMINING MEDICAL FACILITIES OR WITH THE FORENSIC SCIENCE LABORATORIES AS TO SPECIFIC PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING, HANDLING, AND TESTING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS WERE THE USE OF STANDARDIZED SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE PROTOCOLS AND THE COLLECTION OF COMPARISON SAMPLES FROM SUSPECTS. FORENSIC SCIENCE LABORATORIES REPORTED A WIDE VARIETY OF CAPABILITIES FOR ANALYZING SPECIMENS RECEIVED AS EVIDENCE IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES. SOME LABORATORIES ROUTINELY CONDUCT A LARGE NUMBER OF SOPHISTICATED PROCEDURES WITH EVIDENTIARY VALUE, WHILE OTHERS LIMIT THEMSELVES TO PROVIDING SUBSTANTIATION OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY. THE MEDICAL FACILITIES ARE APPARENTLY THE LEAST EFFICIENT AGENCIES IN FORENSIC EVIDENCE COLLECTION. POLICE SHOULD ENCOURAGE ADOPTION OF EVIDENCE COLLECTION PROTOCOLS BY MEDICAL FACILITIES IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES, AND FORENSIC LABORATORIES SHOULD KEEP THE POLICE INFORMED OF THEIR CAPABILITIES IN EVIDENCE ANALYSIS. REFERENCES AND STUDY DATA ARE PROVIDED. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Blood/body fluid analysis; Crime laboratories; Evidence collection; Evidence identification; Forensic medicine; Police agencies; Rape; Sexual assault; Surveys
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51797

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