New testing technology leads to higher reporting in sexual assault cases, study shows

Mar 23, 2016 12:48 PM by News Staff

Butte County's Sexual Assault Response Team, or SART, has released a new study that has some encouraging results.

SART just released the findings from three years of data related to sexual assaults reported by several resources including law enforcement, rape crisis, Chico State, Oroville hospital and Enloe Medical Center.

The big thing they're seeing is the impact of a new way of DNA testing.

Results from the latest sexual assault response team report show some positive trends.

A big factor is RADS, rapid analysis of DNA.

It’s a way for local hospitals to obtain results from a forensic rape kit within 20 days.

"This allows law enforcement and the district attorney to do their job quicker, more efficient, and for them to hold perpetrators of sexual assault accountable and hopefully arrest them off the street," said Anastacia Snyder, Executive Director of Catalyst.

According to a forensic nurse examiner at Enloe, Butte County is one of 8 areas in the state to implement RADS.

While this has reduced the rape-kit back log at the level of law enforcement ... there's still the issue of those who do not seek medical exams after an assault.

"When you look at rape crisis and catalyst numbers, those numbers are considerably higher than the people who are accessing services at the hospitals for the exams," Snyder said.

Rape crisis intervention and prevention as well as catalyst domestic violence services are members of butte county SART.

"We need to be providing outreach and education related to the exams, related to how they can get them, related to the support they can receive around them," Snyder said.

While RADS takes some of the heat off of police, sheriff’s deputies, campus and city police are in integral part of SART.

“They are absolutely engaged in this process and I can only imagine it is only helping their work and the work of the da in holding sexual assault perpetrators accountable," Snyder said.

The report found that there was a rise in sexual assaults in younger victims. Fifty percent of all those who reported were younger than 25.

Resources like Catalyst will use this information to ensure that education is provided at even the high school level.


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