This in-depth module is designed to improve the use of forensic examinations to collect evidence from the bodies and clothing of both victims and suspects during a sexual assault investigation. The module goes beyond simply explaining the procedures that are used during victim and suspect forensic examinations. It also explores the different types of evidence that may be gathered during these examinations and describes how this evidence can be used to advance a sexual assault investigation. It also gives participants an opportunity to apply what is learned through case study activities.
At this point, training is widely available for health care providers on how to conduct a medical forensic examination of a sexual assault victim. However, training provided for health care providers, law enforcement professionals, and others has not typically addressed how and why forensic examinations should be conducted with sexual assault suspects. Also there has been little or no training for law enforcement on how to incorporate the findings of a victim or suspect forensic examination into a sexual assault investigation. The goal of this module is therefore to encourage professionals involved in these cases to push past traditional ways of thinking about evidence, to critically analyze how each piece of information gathered during a forensic examination fits into the complicated puzzle of a comprehensive sexual assault investigation.