2023 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Webinar Series: Novel Research on Sexual Assault

2023 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Webinar Series: Novel Research on Sexual Assault


This April, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence will be releasing a series of webinars covering topics related to novel research on various sexual assault topics. Tune in as our presenters discuss dating app facilitated sexual assault, lawfully owed DNA, touch DNA analysis, and low sexual assault prosecution rates.


Exploring the Link Between Dating Apps and Sexual Assault: Novel Research Findings
This webinar occurred on April 4, 2023
Presenter: Dr. Julie L. Valentine

Dr. Julie L. Valentine will share background information on dating app usage and user demographics to provide context for research findings on dating apps and sexual assault. Research findings will be presented on sexual assaults committed at the first in-person meeting when the victim and assailant met on a dating app compared to other sexual assaults not associated with dating apps. Practice and policy recommendations will be shared to improve dating app safety. 

Solving Violent Crime Through Lawfully "Owed" DNA: Outcomes of Efforts to Address Missed DNA Samples
This webinar occurred on April 11, 2023
Presenters: Dr. Rachel Lovell & Shannon Musson

This presentation explores the issue of lawfully “owed” DNA, which is a DNA sample from a qualifying offender who should have their DNA sample in CODIS (based on applicable state law), but from whom a sample has never been collected or submitted to a lab for testing. As the first jurisdiction funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to address lawfully owed DNA, this presentation provides information on the scope of the problem in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, OH), the process by which individuals who owe were identified, the outcomes of these efforts, the lessons learned and recommendations for other jurisdictions. 

Touch DNA Evidence Collection in Sexual Assault Cases: Knowledge to Inform Practice
This webinar occurred on April 18, 2023
Presenter: Dr. Julie L. Valentine

Dr. Julie L. Valentine will introduce the application of touch DNA in sexual assault cases through a case study. A literature review on touch DNA will be summarized to provide contextual information and research on touch DNA analysis findings in groping sexual assault cases will be discussed. The webinar will conclude with recommendations for multidisciplinary partners to collect, submit, and analyze evidence in sexual assault cases for touch DNA.

Low Prosecution Rates in Sexual Assault Cases: Can We Make Sustainable Improvements?
This webinar occurred on April 25, 2023
Presenter: Dr. Julie L. Valentine

Dr. Julie L. Valentine will provide background information on the challenges in tracking prosecution outcomes in sexual assault cases of adult victims. Research utilizing the National Institute of Justice Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Practitioner Toolkit in two Utah counties will be presented. Variables predicting prosecution will be explored. Participants will be invited to consider societal, structural, and legislative barriers to prosecution of adult sexual assault cases faced in their jurisdiction to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. 

Related Resources

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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