The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) recently released the report, “National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach.” This report was developed in accordance with the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013, which charged NIJ with developing national best practices and protocols on the collection and processing of DNA evidence, specifically in sexual assault cases. To do this, NIJ created the SAFER Working Group, composed of 50 national experts representing victims, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, medical examiners, forensic laboratories, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and the judiciary.

The working group developed 35 recommendations targeting gaps and highlighting areas in need related to:

  • Evidence collection;
  • Prioritization of evidence and time periods for collection;
  • Evidence inventory, tracking, and auditing technology solutions;
  • Communication strategies; and
  • Victim engagement and notification.

This publication was developed as guidance for first responders, law enforcement investigators, forensic nurse examiners, laboratory analysts, advocates, and attorneys so that they can better meet the needs of victims, improve testing, and encourage a more collaborative community of practice.

To learn more about the recommendations and best practices, read the full report.