Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits: The Many Barriers to Access

Content Warning: Sensitive topics are heavily discussed throughout this post, including those of sexual violence. 

Sexual violence and abuse are traumatic experiences for victims and survivors, with short- and long-term psychological, emotional, and physical impacts. When deciding whether to report an assault, a sexual assault forensic exam can be performed. This exam includes using a sexual assault evidence collection (SAEC) kit, commonly known as a “rape kit”, to collect all physical evidence. However, victims and survivors who want to have a SAEC kit completed can face multiple barriers to access.  

In a Public Health Post piece, I address these access barriers which include shortages of staff trained in providing a SAEC kit, concerns about the timing of when an exam can be given, and the need for specialized care. Most importantly, I discuss the impact of these barriers on those seeking to have an exam done, especially for cases involved in the justice system. 

Check out the full article here. 

Research for this piece was supported by Arnold Ventures. 

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