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Forensic Compliance Resources

Note:  The information on this website is designed to:  (a) communicate the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (as reauthorized in 2005 and 2013), and (b) offer recommended practices for implementation.  The goal is to highlight examples of communities striving to achieve a higher standard of the “spirit of the law,” rather than simply meeting the “letter of the law” for VAWA forensic compliance.  It is critically important that readers consult state laws and regulations, as well as local policies and protocols, because they may have additional requirements beyond those included in VAWA 2005 and VAWA 2013.  For more information specific to your state or territory, contact the STOP Grant Administrator or coalition of advocacy organizations providing services for sexual assault victims.  A listing is available from the website for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. 
 

We have developed a set of templates to help communities implement a multidisciplinary protocol for victims to anonymously report their sexual assault to law enforcement. These documents are posted in Word format, so they can be easily modified for use in communities across the country. Questions are highlighted in yellow that will need to be addressed to adapt the materials. You will also need to revise the wording to reflect the unique structure of your multidisciplinary community protocol. In other words, these materials represent only the “starting point.” They can be tailored based on the specific agencies, laws, resources, and other unique factors in your community environment.

MOU for Community Protocol

There are 5 documents you can use to piece together an MOU for a community-wide protocol. There are also 2 different versions, depending on whether or not your state has medical mandated reporting.

States with Medical Mandated Reporting for Sexual Assault:

States without Medical Mandated Reporting for Sexual Assault:

Options for Victims: Informational Materials and Documentation Form

Templates are also available to provide victims with information about their options for the medical forensic examination and to document their preferences.

First is a document providing victims with information about their options for: medical testing and treatment, forensic evidence collection, reporting to law enforcement, and follow-up contact.

Second is a form (entitled “Choosing Your Options”) that can be used to document the victim’s preferences, and it is designed to correspond to the informational document. The form can also be used to document information such as the medical record number or patient number, contact information for the exam facility and law enforcement agency, and the law enforcement case number (if there is one).

Again, there are two different versions of the templates, depending on whether they will be tailored for use in a state with or without medical mandated reporting for sexual assault. You will need to address the questions in yellow and make changes to the wording to reflect your multidisciplinary protocol. You will also need to fill in the name of the specific facility conducting medical forensic examinations. The documents refer to the “SAFE program” but you will need to replace it with the name of the facility providing medical forensic exams in your community.

States with Medical Mandated Reporting for Sexual Assault:

States without Medical Mandated Reporting for Sexual Assault:

Should We "Test Anonymous Kits?"

This EVAWI training bulletin answers the frequent question about whether communities should be "testing anonymous kits." However, before we can do that, we need to take the question apart and examine several problems with the way it is framed. We first explore problems with the terminology and concepts surrounding both "anonymous" and "testing kits."

Direct Anonymous Reporting: Multidisciplinary Protocols Offer Alternative Option for Victims

This article in Sexual Assault Report offers background information on alternative reporting options for victims of sexual assault. Authors Sgt. (Ret.) Joanne Archambault and Dr. Kim Lonsway provide concrete guidance for those seeking to implement a protocol for direct anonymous reporting, clarify some common misconceptions, and help to avoid frequent pitfalls.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2013-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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