Public Knowledge and Perceptions About Unsubmitted and Untested Sexual Assault Kits

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Criminal Justice Review


Large numbers of unsubmitted and untested sexual assault kits have been uncovered across the country. Although increased criminal justice, empirical, and legislative attention have been given to better understanding this issue, the extent to which the public is aware of unsubmitted and untested kits and how the public feels about the subject has not been explored. Assessing the public's knowledge of this topic is important considering that public awareness of criminal justice issues can ultimately influence policy decisions. This study, therefore, explores the publics’ knowledge and perceptions about the issue of unsubmitted and untested sexual assault kits. We found that roughly 74% of the sample had heard of the term “sexual assault kit,” and a little over half (60%) of those persons were aware of the magnitude of the issue surrounding unsubmitted and untested kits. Few (30%) respondents who were aware of the problem knew that it was an issue in their own communities. Further, the public was generally supportive of testing kits and saw the utility of kits, but nuances in the data emerged.


Community perceptions; Unsubmitted sexual assault kits; Untested sexual assault kits


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication

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