Photo of a Sexual Assault Evidence collection kit box on table

Begun Center’s Rachel Lovell co-authors case study on work addressing untested rape kits

Rachel Lovell, research assistant professor at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, co-authored a case study with award-winning journalist and former reporter at The Plain Dealer Rachel Dissell, related to their work addressing the thousands of previously untested rape kits in one Midwestern jurisdiction.

Titled “Dissemination and Impact Amplified: How a Researcher– Reporter Collaboration Helped Improve the Criminal Justice Response to Victims With Untested Sexual Assault Kits,” the piece was published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

In their case study, the authors discussed: 

  • How and why their “symbiotic partnership” formed; 
  • The outcomes, including extensive and public dissemination and a unique project that surveyed 294 Ohio law enforcement agencies to see what happened after the rape kits were tested (Ohio Rape Kit Survey Project); and 
  • The impact that the partnership, dissemination and larger initiative had in sparking demonstrable change in how the justice system and the general public responded to and engaged with the issue of untested rape kits and with victims of sexual assault.

Lovell and Dissell also highlighted some of the larger takeaways from the collaboration, for not only researchers and reporters, but also a framework for how this type of collaboration can be leveraged to produce change for the greater good.

Read their case study.