Free Training: DNA in Sexual Assault Investigations

The organization End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) has released a new module in its free OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) entitled Laboratory Analysis of Biological Evidence and the Role of DNA in Sexual Assault Investigations.

This comprehensive module explores the role of DNA in a sexual assault investigation, beginning with an examination of certain assumptions that influence both discussions and policy initiatives in this area. Training explores alternative sources of DNA evidence and their potential significance or impact on a sexual assault investigation.

Resources, Tools, and Case Examples

The module also includes a series of complex case examples illustrating many of the points and providing the opportunity to apply what you have learned to a variety of scenarios. The scenarios include a synopsis of the sexual assault and a SANE report from the victim's medical forensic examination, along with other supplemental materials, such as: a search warrant, suspect examination reports, clothing documentation forms, documentation of the objective symptoms of drug facilitated sexual assault, and sample laboratory service requests for both toxicology and DNA analysis.

A number of resources and tools are provided that can be easily adapted for use by law enforcement agencies. As with all the other modules in the OLTI, this new module on DNA can be printed if you prefer to review the material on paper. However, the information provided for the case examples will be limited in the print version. You will only be able to review the answers and subsequent discussion in the online format. Therefore, we highly recommend that you complete this module online if at all possible.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, participants will be better able to:

  • Define some essential concepts and explore the historical context of forensic DNA.
  • Articulate a basic understanding of the various DNA tests available.
  • Describe what the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is and explain how local, state, and national levels of the database function.
  • Demonstrate the importance of a competent, thorough investigation in a sexual assault case, including the use of DNA analysis.
  • Explain the need for evidence collection, including a forensic examination of the victim and suspect, clothing, photographs, and other evidence from the crime scene.
  • Improve communication between investigators and forensic scientists to enhance efficiency and maximize probative laboratory results.
  • Describe how law enforcement investigators should evaluate the evidence collected and identify what is likely to be the most important or probative, given a specific sexual assault scenario.
  • Through case examples, illustrate how probative biological screening and DNA testing can assist in the development of a case.
  • Prepare to submit a comprehensive request for analytic services to the laboratory, and ensure that the request contains all the essential elements.
  • Explain the two-step process taken by laboratories to analyze biological evidence in a sexual assault case, which includes: (1) Screening to identify and localize potentially probative evidence, and (2) Developing a DNA profile.
  • Describe the content of various laboratory reports (e.g., screening and DNA profiling results) and explain the purposes they serve.
  • Address problem-solving on a national level, by offering several broad-reaching recommendations to improve policies and practices in this area.

Enroll Today!

We encourage you to enroll in this new module, which - like all of the courses within the OLTI - includes a number of review exercises and test questions, as well as a personalized, downloadable certificate for successful completion. Also keep in mind that continuing education is available for nurses, and may be available for law enforcement professionals depending on your jurisdiction. Click on the accreditation map for law enforcement to find out more.

The OLTI is FREE. There is no cost to register, enroll, or complete any of the modules.

Source: EVAWI


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