SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
OBJECTIVE: Sexual assault evidence collection kits (SAECKs) are used to collect evidence for DNA recovery after rape. The aim of this study was to assess the extent of completion of the kits by health care workers in 6 provinces of South Africa. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted to code SAECKs that were analysed at one forensic science laboratory in South Africa. RESULTS: The findings from 204 SAECKs that were analysed are presented. The study found that none of the SAECKs complied fully with administrative quality requirements. Almost all of the specimens that were collected were analysed, except for pubic and head hair specimens that were rarely collected and analysed. A quarter of SAECKs did not have one of the three genital specimens collected. The presence and availability of all three genital swabs for forensic DNA analysis were found to be significant as this increased the chance of evidence recovery and obtaining a foreign forensic DNA profile. In 80% of cases, the DNA matched the suspect. CONCLUSIONS: The importance of administrative quality and the significance of collecting all three genital specimens should be emphasised in training programmes for health care workers. The study raises questions related to other aspects of sexual assault services and has implications regarding the overall quality of care that survivors receive.