Notification for Victims of Assault (NoVA): A Guide for Communities with Untested Sexual Assault Kits

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Busch-Armendariz, Noël
Sulley, Caitlin
Hoefer, Sharon
Backes, Bethany
Dempster, Mariel
Thompson, Jennifer

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Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, The University of Texas at Austin



This document is a comprehensive guide about sexual assault kit (SAK) testing and the resulting need for victim notification regarding the forensic results or details on the progression of a case. This guide addresses the need for a coordinated community response to re-engage victims after testing unrequested or untested SAKs using trauma-informed, victim-centered protocols, and to build effective practices moving forward. The key to creating this lasting change is to build multidisciplinary engagement and collaboration. This resource is to be used in conjunction with state and federal statutes about confidentiality, as well as other resources, to seek the most expedient justice in sexual assault cases. We have distilled best practices and current science into a comprehensive guide and procedures called the NoVA Change Process. The NoVA Change Process is empirically based and describes the steps for victim notification to be undertaken through a coordinated community response.

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Busch-Armendariz, N., Sulley, C., Hoefer, S., Backes, B., Dempster, M., & Thompson, J. (2019). Notification for victims of sexual assault (NoVA): A guide for communities with untested sexual assault kits. Austin, TX: Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, The University of Texas at Austin.