In the last several years, untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) emerged as a major criminal and social justice issue. Recently, we have begun to understand the underlying reasons for the untested evidence and some jurisdictions have begun to test this evidence, notify victims of results, and investigate when possible. Moving forward, the nation is concerned with two primary questions: How will justice be served for sexual assault survivors with untested SAKs and how will offenders in these cases be held accountable?
With these questions in mind, the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault will provide training and technical assistance on victim-centered notification. Training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim service providers will aim to increase professionals’ skills to notify and inform survivors about their cases, account for survivors’ needs, rights, and preferences, and reduce the risk of victim re-traumatization in cases of untested or backlogged SAKs.
To achieve our project goals, methods will include translating research from previous projects with consultation from national experts, developing and presenting an evidence-based victim-informed training curriculum on victim notification, presenting curriculum content to targeted audiences through webinars and conference presentations, and making curriculum content available for download.