PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Ongoing research conducted by a BYU professor has yielded "encouraging" results, according to new data released Wednesday.
BYU nursing professor Julie Valentine has been researching the issues surrounding sexual assault kit processing since 2011. She has been working with law enforcement agencies to improve the process.
In 2016, Valentine released the results of her study, looking at the processing of 1,874 sexual assault kits, commonly called rape kits, in seven Utah counties between 2010 and 2013.
Valentine continued to work on her initial research and recently released a study that includes another year of data; the results now span from 2010—2014 and include 2,317 fully collected sexual assault kits.
“We are seeing a significant increase in kit submission rates throughout the state,” Valentine said. “Law enforcement agencies are to be commended for this substantial improvement.”
The big finding from the new study is that in 2014, 75 percent of sexual assault kits in Utah were submitted by law enforcement to the state crime laboratory for analysis. From 2010 to 2013, only 38 percent of kits were submitted.
Washington County saw the most significant improvement. The submission rate was only 18 percent between 2010-2013. It increased to 93 percent in 2014.
This most recent study of Valentine’s is currently published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
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