Experts Discuss Ways to Set up an Effective, Compassionate Victim Notification System

Ilsa Knecht (Joyful Heart Foundation) and Natasha Alexenko (Natasha’s Justice Project) came to CONNSACS to share their experiences in setting up a trauma informed protocol for victim notification.

In June 2016, CONNSACS released a report on the 879 backlogged sexual assault evidence collection kits on the shelves of law enforcement agencies across Connecticut. In response to the backlog, lawmakers passed legislation to require that all kits must be sent to the lab within 10 days of evidence collection and then must be tested within 60 days. The Governor also announced that he would be foming a statewide, multidisciplinary working group to address why these kits were left untested and suggest ways that Connecticut can better respond to victims of sexual assault. In the report, CONNSACS suggested that this working group should develop victim centered, trauma informed protocols for informing victims that their backlogged kits (some over five years old) had a DNA match and that the case may be active once again. Advocates at Joyful Heart Foundation and Natasha’s Justice Project have been working with advocates across the country to address kit backlogs in other cities and states. They came to CONNSACS to share their experiences and advice on promising practices for setting up an effective and compassionate victim notification system.

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