A new study done by researchers at the Ottawa Hospital found fewer than half of the results from sexual assault kits are given to police as evidence.
“What we found is that only two thirds chose to get the collection, and only one third released it to police,” says Dr. Katherine Muldoon.
Muldoon was the main author in the study published in Emergency Medical Journal.
Researchers found even when sexual assault evidence kits, known as a ‘rape kit’ are available in hospitals, many chose not to go through with the full procedure, even fewer release the forensic evidence to the police.
The data was collected in 2015. Of the 406 patients from the Ottawa area, nearly two thirds of whom (64.5%, 262) had been sexually assaulted. But only 129 (64%) of those eligible to complete the rape kit went through with the process. Less than a third of those handed over the forensic evidence to the police.
Muldoon says, “The factors that we did with releasing the kit were those who didn’t know who their assailant were or those where the assault happened outdoor.”
Those under 24 years old, or those who did not know their assailant were more likely to give police the results.
The rape kit is forensic evidence collected there from bodily fluids, fingernail scrapings, and DNA clothing samples. They are essential for pursuing a prosecution in rape cases.
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