Several companies are marketing at-home, or “Do-It-Yourself,” rape kits that claim survivors can collect their own sexual assault forensic evidence. Our partners at Wasatch Forensic Nurses have prepared a statement warning against the use of these kits, which can be found below.
It is important for survivors and their supporters to understand the risks of these kits. While at first look they may seem like a positive alternative to traditional rape kit collection, especially for those who are hesitant to interact with the criminal justice system, they are actually an attempt to profit off of survivors during a very stressful and difficult time. These kits cannot be used by police and are not admissible evidence in a criminal court proceedings.
Survivors who have recently experienced a sexual assault and are considering having a rape kit collected should know the following:
Sexual assault forensic evidence can be collected within 7 days of an assault.
Funding is available to pay for this evidence collection - the survivor will be assisted in accessing these funding sources to avoid out of pocket expenses.
Evidence can be collected even if the survivor is not sure if they want to talk to police. This is called a “restricted kit.”
When a rape kit is collected, the survivor will also receive important medical care to address concerns about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and possible injury.
Survivors will also receive access to healing resources as part of this evidence collection process, and in Salt Lake County an advocate from the Rape Recovery Center will be there during the whole process to provide support and resources.