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Untested Sexual Assault Kits

The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 required states, as a condition of funding, to allow victims to receive a medical forensic exam without having to report the crime to law enforcement.  These unreported sexual assault kits, also known as  “anonymous kits” or “Jane/John Doe kits,” afford victims access to medical care and allow important evidence to be collected, without forcing the victim to immediately decide whether to report the assault to law enforcement. Allowing victims this time to decide about their engagement with the criminal justice system is important to returning power to victims and giving them control over their participation in the criminal justice system.  For an in-depth examination of the use of anonymous kits, see Giving Sexual Assault Survivors Time to Decide: An Exploration of the Use and Effects of the Nonreport Option in the American Journal of Nursing.

Many jurisdictions face challenges related to these unreported kits, such as how long to store unreported kits and if they should be tested. The National Center does not support the testing of these anonymous kits without victim permission.  For background on this issue, see AEquitas' Brochure on Anonymous Reporting and EVAWI's "Should We Test Anonymous Kits?".

Related Resources

Many communities have created policies and protocols related to collection and storage of unreported kits. The National Center has collected some examples of these resources below.

Sample Polices and Protocol for Unreported Sexual Assault Kits

Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Duluth, Minnesota

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

South Carolina Office of Victim's Assistance

South Carolina Brochure for Victims on Anonymous Reporting

Sumter Police Department, South Carolina

Texas Department of Public Safety

West Virginia Foundation for Rape and Information Services

Sample Consent Forms

Duluth, Minnesota Unreported Consent Form

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault Unreported Consent Form

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Technical Assistance Unreported Consent Form