We all know that in most criminal proceedings the evidence is everything. But in a sexual assault case, the evidence really can make or break the case. Surviving something as horrific as a sexual assault requires an incredible amount of bravery and courage but having the strength to seek justice for what happened to you, requires an immeasurable amount of both.
As any sexual assault lawyer will tell you – check out this Toronto sexual assault lawyer if you’re still searching for legal representation – the DNA element of your case is invaluable, it’s what will get you the outcome that you want and you deserve. Here we’ll look at why evidence is key in your sexual assault case.
The forensic exam
If you reported the assault within the immediate aftermath – around 72 hours – then you will probably have been given a forensic examination, sometimes referred to as a rape kit. These examinations – although the last thing a victim wants to have after a traumatic experience – are vital for the process of gathering evidence to help build your case. Other benefits include:
- Potential identification of the perpetrator: By using swabs, combs and other forms of collection, the nurse examiner will be able to obtain various kinds of DNA which will enable law enforcement to identify the culprit via an extensive database.
- It will throw weight behind your accusation: It’s solid, undeniable evidence that cannot be changed, denied or ignored. It means you will have a stronger case.
- It could prevent future violence: By allowing this evidence and DNA to be collected you’re potentially saving others. Not only could this evidence be enough to take a dangerous person off the streets, but even if you don’t get the conviction you want, having this DNA on file makes it easier for the police to connect the perpetrator to future cases of violence and crime.
What kinds of DNA will be collected?
DNA, much like fingerprints is unique to everyone. This means that from DNA authorities will be able to find a match to the perpetrator. Types of DNA that can be crucial to a case include:
- Skin tissue
DNA can be found in a variety of places, such as the scene where the crime took place, as well as the clothes and the body of sexual assault survivor.
What will happen to the DNA evidence?
Once DNA has been collected, it will then be sent to a crime lab for further tests. These tests will indicate who the DNA belongs to by creating a DNA profile. This profile will then be matched to a specific person in a database.
Surviving a sexual assault is a traumatic and devastating experience. However, even after you have had your forensic exam, you can still choose whether or not to pursue legal action. You might wish to think about it. However, there is a time limit for reporting and pressing charges, which is referred to as a statute of limitations, which varies by state. If in doubt, speak with an attorney who will be able to advise you further.