209202 Rape/sexual assault suspect forensic evidence collection: Challenges in

Monday, November 9, 2009

Consuelo Dungca, EdD, RN , Quality Management and Clinical Affairs, NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation, New York, NY
Alfreda N. Weaver, RN, MPH , Quality Management, Health and Hospitals Corporation, NY city, NY
NYC health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest public health care system in the country is challenge in the implementation of the new program “suspect forensic evidence collection” to expedite conviction or non-conviction of rape/sexual assault suspects. Sexual Assault is a significant social and medical problem affecting thousands of individuals in New York City. Health and Hospitals Corporation provides victims of rape/sexual assault medical and/or psychological treatment through the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE).

One of the opportunities for improvement that we identified in the total management of rape/sexual assault victims is expediting the judicial process by having timely collection of critical and time sensitive evidence from suspects.

Utilization of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) to collect evidence from the rape/sexual assault suspect is a natural extension of the comprehensive medical, forensic and counseling services provided by HHC facilities to rape/sexual assault victims. Therefore we decided to have the SAFE collect the suspect's forensic evidence to ensure timely and appropriate collection of forensic evidence that will be a strong evidence for conviction or non-conviction.

This decision was met with resistance from the SAFE; however, with collaboration/discussions with the prosecution agencies, development of policy/procedures and training, the program was started. To date, there had been four suspect forensic evidence collected w/one conviction. Timely suspect collection of forensic evidence definitely expedited the judicial process for both the victim and suspect.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss solution to barriers in the implementation of the suspect rape/sexual assault forensic evidence collection. Identify components of suspect forensic evidence collection for the investigation and prosecution of rape/sexual assault.

Keywords: Violence, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage the Corporate Program on Child Abuse and Neglect
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.