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Forensic Analysts’ Perspectives: Sexual Assault Kits Under the Microscope

Corum, Victoria BS, RN, CEN, CFN; Carroll, Janet RN, CEN, SANE-A

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000022
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Properly collected evidence from a sexual assault examination can assist in the prosecution of the suspected perpetrator or in the exoneration of the wrongfully accused. Previous studies have documented the increased quality of evidence collected by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) versus non-SANE trained providers (Ledray & Simmelink, 1997; Sievers, Murphy, & Miller, 2003) as well as the effectiveness of SANE programs (Campbell, Patterson, & Lichty, 2005; National Institute of Justice, 1999). SANE nurses attempt to collect appropriate specimens through the correct means and in sufficient quantities for forensic analysis with every examination. Samples of good analytical quality offer the best chance of obtaining deoxyribonucleic acid (Burg, Kahn, & Welch, 2011). As one method of quality improvement, SANE nurses can learn to increase the consistency of quality evidence collection by eliciting feedback from the analysts who receive and process the specimens. A national survey of crime laboratories that analyze sexual assault kits was conducted. This paper will present forensic analysts’ perspectives about the quality of data collection, feedback for improvement, and resources for further education.

Author Affiliations: Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Victoria Corum, BS, RN, CEN, CFN, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756. E-mail:

Received August 27, 2013; accepted for publication on January 7, 2014.

© 2014 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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