To be used or not to be used, that is the question: legal use of forensic and clinical information collected in a self-referral sexual assault centre.J Forensic Sci. 2011 Sep; 56(5):1156-62.JF
This study explores how the police select cases for using information from a self-referral Sexual Assault Centre (SAC). The study is retrospective and descriptive: a 2-year series from a Scandinavian SAC and corresponding police files. The police had access to 163 SAC cases, requested 84% of available forensic medical documentation, and had 50% of the trace samples analyzed. The two main predictors of police utilization of forensic evidence were cases the police classified as rape and complaints filed during January to August. Extrinsic DNA was found in 27/60 trace evidence analyses, 21 matching a suspect. For one-third of the suspects who denied sexual acts, the forensic evidence contradicted their denial. Nonuse forfeited this possibility in several cases, and relevant information on injuries was lost. Our results indicate that available medical information is not fully utilized for legal purposes. Main barriers are police classification of cases and insufficient economic funding.