Lisa Growette Bostaph, a professor of criminal justice, appeared on KTVB’s “The 208” to discuss research evaluating the Idaho Sexual Assault Kit Initiative statutes, which were funded by the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance.
Bostaph and colleagues from the Department of Criminal Justice (Laura King, Lane Gillespie and former graduate student Kaitlin Blalock) partnered with the Idaho State Police Forensic Sciences lab and 33 policing agencies across the state to determine if the initiative’s four statutes (conducted from 2016 – 2019) influenced sexual assault reporting, investigations and case clearance.
The team analyzed sexual assault reports and investigative materials pre- and post-statutes, and also compared sexual assault cases with and without a sexual assault kit. In addition, over 100 policing professionals involved in the sample cases were surveyed about their perceptions of sexual assault investigations. The study’s findings indicate that the statutes did not lead to a massive shift in police response or clearance of sexual violence cases. The researchers did, however, detail more nuanced changes, such as a greater documentation of evidence and of more varied types of evidence, and the majority of policing professionals remain supportive of the statutory requirement to test all sexual assault kits. More information about this study others are is available on the Idaho Victimization Clearinghouse website.