Just DNA Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Just DNA Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Original Release Date: April 7, 2023

In episode one of our 2023 Sexual Assault Awareness Month mini season, Just Science sat down with Dr. Julie L. Valentine, a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, to discuss how large-scale data collection can provide a better understanding of sexual assault cases and improve sexual assault response practices, policy, and education.

Throughout her career, Dr. Valentine identified a gap in data-driven practices for responding to sexual assault cases. Using her experience providing care to survivors, Dr. Valentine embarked on research to collect comprehensive data regarding which factors assist in developing an assailant’s DNA profile so that it can be entered into local, state, and national databases. Listen along as Dr. Valentine describes the relationship between research and providing care, her goals for developing best practices and public policy, and some of her specific research findings.

Dr. Valentine is also participating in the FTCOE's Sexual Assault Awareness Month webinar series where she will present on the use of dating apps, the value of trace/touch DNA, and research on prosecution rates associated with sexual assault cases.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award #: 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU).

Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

Listen to or download the episode here:

View or download the episode transcript here:

Guest Biography

Dr. Julie L. Valentine is an Associate Dean and Associate Professor at Brigham Young University College of Nursing and certified sexual assault nurse examiner with Wasatch Forensic Nurses. Her research focus areas are sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and the criminal justice system’s response to sexual violence. Dr. Valentine focuses on collaborative research studies uniting disciplines in sexual assault case reform to benefit victims and case processing. She developed a growing dataset of ~14,000 sexual assault cases tracking information from evidence collection through DNA analysis – the largest database of its kind. Findings from this database have informed state and national policies and interdisciplinary practices. Dr. Valentine is very active in using her expertise and research to inform legislative policy.

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

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