DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Establishment of Minimum Standard Requirements for Sexual Assault Evidence Collection
[50 Pa.B. 6964]
[Saturday, December 5, 2020]
Section 3 of the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act (act) (35 P.S. § 10172.3) establishes a Statewide sexual assault evidence collection program to be administered by the Department of Health (Department). Under this program the Department is to consult with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the State Police to develop and review on a scheduled basis the minimum standard requirements for all rape kits used in hospitals and health care facilities in this Commonwealth, to test and approve commercially available rape kits for use in this Commonwealth and to establish a program to train appropriate personnel in the correct use and application of rape kits.
Under the act, the Department, in consultation with PCAR and State Police, established a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Committee (Committee). The Committee includes representatives of the Department, PCAR, the State Police, forensic nurse examiners, members of sexual assault response teams and law enforcement.
In accordance with the act, the Committee met on September 3, 2020, and formulated minimum standard requirements for sexual assault evidence collection in this Commonwealth. The minimum standards requirements established by the Committee should be observed by all health care facilities and child advocacy centers in this Commonwealth, and these facilities and centers should meet or exceed those minimum standard requirements.
Under 28 Pa. Code § 117.52(a)(1) (relating to minimum requirements for sexual assault emergency services), all hospitals providing sexual assault emergency services under 28 Pa. Code §§ 117.51—117.58 (relating to sexual assault victim emergency services) ''shall utilize a rape kit that complies with the minimum standard requirements developed by the Department or that is otherwise approved by the Department under the [act].'' Accordingly, this publication shall serve as notice to those hospitals of the minimum standard requirements developed by the Committee and approved by the Department under the act.
As of October 1, 2020, the following minimum standard requirements for sexual assault evidence collection are in effect:
Per these minimum standard requirements, kit manufacturers will be responsible for adding a unique identifier and bar code; however, any existing inventory will need to be uniquely identified by the health care facility once a tracking system is implemented. The unique identifiers provided by a manufacturer should use an alpha-numeric combination to prevent duplication by other manufacturers.
Minimum Standard Requirements
Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Contents
Step 1 Consent for Collection and Release of Evidence and Information Form Step 2 Clothing and Underpants Collection Step 3 Oral Assault Collection Samples Step 4 Miscellaneous Collection (Debris, Dried Secretions, Tampon/Sanitary Napkin) Step 5 Fingernail Swabbings Step 6 External Genitalia Collection Sample Step 7 Vaginal Assault Collection Samples Step 8 Perianal/Rectal Assault Collection Samples Step 9 Buccal Swab Collection (for DNA Analysis) Step 10 Transfer of Evidence Form
Cap-Shure swabs are an acceptable substitute for the current swabs and boxes and may be used in place of the buccal swab collector
The Committee also formulated minimum standard guidelines for suspect kits.
Minimum Guidelines for Suspect Evidence Collection Kits
Recommended Sources and Time Frames for Evidence Collection*
Area of Contact on Suspect Collection Time Frame Collection Method Known DNA Sample Always collect Buccal swab, FTA card or oral swab recommended;
Whole blood not recommended but acceptable
Penile/Scrotal Up to 96 hours (4 days) Two swabs Vaginal Up to 120 hours (5 days) Four swabs Anal/Rectal/Perianal Up to 72 hours (3 days) Two swabs Oral Up to 24 hours (1 day) Two swabs Bite Marks/Saliva on Skin Up to 96 hours (4 days) Two swabs Fingernail/Finger Swabbing Up to 48 hours (2 days) Two swabs Debris/Dried Secretions Collect only if applicable by scenario Two swabs Underpants Collect if worn at time of incident or immediately following N/A Outer Clothing Collect only if applicable by scenario N/A
*Recommended time frames based on National Institute of Justice National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, August 2017): https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/250384.pdf.
Note: Hair combings and pulled hair samples are not recommended.
Persons who require more information regarding these requirements may contact Beth Zakutney, Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program Administrator, (717) 547-3234, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persons with a disability who require an alternative format of this notice (for example, large print, audiotape, Braille) should contact Garrison E. Gladfelter, Jr., Department of Health, Division of Acute and Ambulatory Care, Room 532, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701, (717) 783-8980, or for speech and/or hearing-impaired persons, call the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users).
RACHEL L. LEVINE, MD,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1705. Filed for public inspection December 4, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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