Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Outcomes in Sexual Assault Cases in Massachusetts, 2008-2012 (ICPSR 35205)

Version Date: Mar 30, 2017 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Theodore Cross, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35205.v1

Version V1

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This project had three goals. One, to provide a more detailed description of injury evidence and biological evidence in sexual assault cases, including their timing relative to arrests. A second goal was to examine the relationship of forensic evidence to arrests. A third goal was to examine injury evidence and biological evidence in certain types of cases in which it may have had greater impact. To achieve these goals, the researchers created analysis data files that merged data from the Massachusetts Provided Sexual Crime Report, forensic evidence data from the two crime laboratories serving the state and data on arrests and criminal charges from 140 different police agencies.

Cross, Theodore. Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Outcomes in Sexual Assault Cases in Massachusetts, 2008-2012. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-03-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35205.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2011-WG-BX-0005)

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Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2008 -- 2012
2008 -- 2012

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

The purpose of the research is to develop knowledge about injury evidence and biological evidence in sexual assault cases and assess their role in making arrests using data from medical providers, crime laboratories and police.

This study merged data from three sources:

  1. Massachusetts Provided Sexual Crime Report (PSCR)- This consisted of reports that medical providers throughout the state who conduct forensic examinations following sexual assault are required to fax to the Research and Policy Analysis Division of the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
  2. Forensic evidence data abstracted for the study from the two crime laboratories serving the state: Boston Police Crime Laboratory and Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory.
  3. Data on arrests and criminal charges from 140 different police agencies across the state, including municipal, campus and state law enforcement agencies.

The first step in data collection was the creation of a PSCR data file for sampled cases. This file was created from extracting a random sample of cases from 2008 through 2010 from the PSCR database. This included data on victim, perpetrator and assault characteristics. From this data file, a list of all evidence kit numbers was made and provided to research staff working in one of two crime laboratories: Boston Police Crime Laboratory and Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory. Research staff then located the evidence kits and entered kit numbers, and other data into files from the standardized forms and crime laboratory reports accompanying each evidence kit. Finally, the police incident numbers from case samples were sent to police departments for further case and administrative information to be recorded. Analysis data files were created by merging the data file from the PSCR database with the data files created at the crime laboratories and the criminal justice data files that were created from information from police departments.

A random sample of reported sexual assaults that occurred between 2008 and 2010 was obtained from the Provider Sexual Crimes Report (PSCR) database.The PSCR is a statewide database of medical reports on forensic medical examination following sexual assault in cases in which police reports were made.

Cross-sectional

Sexual assault victims who received forensic medical examinations following sexual assault in Massachusetts, 2008-2010.

Individual.

Data on founding, arrests and criminal charges from 140 different police agencies across the state, including municipal, campus and state law enforcement agencies.

Massachusetts Provider Sexual Crime Report (PSCR) database.

Forensic evidence data abstracted for the study from Boston Police Crime Laboratory and Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory.

administrative records data, clinical data, survey data

This study includes two SPSS datasets, the first containing information on adult and adolescent cases of sexual assault and the second set containing information on child cases of sexual assault.

Forensic evidence and sexual assault study - adult cases archived data.sav: This dataset consists of 273 variables and 528 cases and represents the adult sample of the study. The variables included:

  • Frequency and location of injuries on the victim's body
  • Type and amount of photos taken of injuries
  • Whether the victim had lost consciousness or was in the ICU
  • Type of medical equipment used in exam
  • Types of testing done including toxicology, blood, oral swabs, fingernail scrapings, foreign material collection, if any swabbing done and whether clothing was taken for testing
  • Whether there was positive evidence from crime report (blood, saliva, semen, other)
  • Whether biological or any other type of evidence was found
  • DNA match to database
  • Victim demographic information (age, race, gender)
  • When and where the assault occurred
  • Exam information such as when it occurred, who completed it and whether an interpreter was used
  • Assailant information such as number [of assailants], gender and relationship to victim
  • Type of abuse perpetuated by assailant (hit, bit, used weapon, burned, restrained, choked, penetrated etc.)
  • If and where penetration occurred and how
  • Whether there was a weapon, elder, child, or disabled persons report done
  • Dates such as police involvement; when evidence kits were collected, sent to lab, arrived at lab; date of lab report to police, prosecutors; arrest dates; dates charges filed and time between events
  • Whether there were arrests made and/or charges filed

Forensic evidence and sexual assault study - child cases archived data.sav. This dataset consists of 223 variables and 36 cases and represents the child sample of the study. The variables included:

  • Whether incident was reported to police at the time of the exam, type of medical provider to administered the exam and was there a kit at the crime lab for the victim
  • Frequency and location of injuries on the victim's body
  • Type and amount of photos taken of injuries
  • Whether the victim had lost consciousness or was in the ICU
  • Information about the exam such as what position and medical equipment were used to perform the exam
  • Types of testing done including toxicology, blood, oral swabs, fingernail scrapings, foreign material collection, if any swabbing done and whether clothing was taken for testing
  • Whether there was positive evidence from crime report (blood, saliva, semen, other)
  • Whether biological or any other type of evidence was found
  • DNA match to database
  • Victim demographic information (age, race, gender)
  • When and where the assault occurred
  • Exam information such as when it occurred, who completed it and whether an interpreter was used
  • Assailant information such as number [of assailants], gender and relationship to victim
  • Type of abuse perpetuated by assailant (hit, bit, used weapon, burned, restrained, choked, penetrated etc.)
  • If and where penetration occurred
  • Whether there was a weapon, elder, child, or disabled persons report done
  • Pediatric disclosure, pediatric relationship to assailant and the nature of pediatric assault (acute vs. chronic)
  • Dates such as police involvement; when evidence kits were collected, sent to lab, arrived at lab; date of lab report to police, prosecutors; arrest dates; dates charges filed and time between events
  • Whether there were arrests made and/or charges filed

A brief survey of 143 police agencies was administered and 140 responded, giving it a response rate of 97.9%.

2017-03-30

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Cross, Theodore. Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Outcomes in Sexual Assault Cases in Massachusetts, 2008-2012. ICPSR35205-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-03-30. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35205.v1

Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.