Victim Notification

A Training and Technical Assistance Program

Funded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice

The Development of an Evidence-based Curriculum for Victim-Centered Notification: Training and Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and Victim Service Providers in Untested Sexual Assault Cases


In the last several years, untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) emerged as a major criminal and social justice issue. Recently, we have begun to understand the underlying reasons for the untested evidence and some jurisdictions have begun to test this evidence, notify victims of results, and investigate and prosecute when possible. Moving forward, the nation is concerned with two primary questions: How will justice be served for sexual assault survivors with untested SAKs and how will offenders in these cases be held accountable?

With these questions in mind, the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault provided training and technical assistance on victim-centered notification. Training for law enforcement, prosecutors, victim service providers, and advocates will aim to increase professionals’ skills to notify and inform victims about their cases, account for victims’ needs, rights, and preferences, and reduce the risk of retraumatization in cases of untested SAKs.

The project goals were achieved through the implementation of several strategies including:

  1. translating and synthesizing research from previous projects,
  2. consulting and interviewing national experts,
  3. developing and presenting an evidence-based victim-informed training curriculum on victim notification,
  4. presenting curriculum content to targeted audiences through webinars and conference presentations, and
  5. making curriculum content available for download.

We actively seek promising practices from jurisdictions around the country. Please feel free to contact us to share your practices so that we can share them with communities around the country.


Webinar Series

This webinar series provides guidance on the development and implementation of victim-centered notification practices in sexual assault cases with untested sexual assault kits. While each webinar builds upon previous content, participants may choose to start with any topic and access other webinars at their convenience.

Archived Webinars

Webinar 1 – Making the Case for Victim-Centered Notification with Untested Sexual Assault Kits

No Cost to Participants LINK

Webinar 2 – Victim Notification in Cases Involving Untested Sexual Assault Kits: What You Need to Know about the Brain and Trauma presented by Dr. Rebecca Campbell

No Cost to Participants LINK

Webinar 3 – Critical Elements for Victim Notification: Developing and Implementing Protocol and Practice

No Cost to Participants LINK

Webinar 4 – Critical Elements for Victim Notification: Planning and Preparing for Change

No Cost to Participants LINK

Visit LINK for more information on OVW-sponsored webinars.



To request information on victim notification in cases of untested or backlogged sexual assault kits, please contact Caitlin Sulley at or 512-471-3198.

Examples of technical assistance include:

  • Best practice in victim contact and notification
  • Role of system- and law enforcement-based and community-based advocates
  • Integration of advocates into systems
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration and SARRT development and implementation
  • Notification policy or protocol development
  • Considerations for sharing case-sensitive information
  • Notification of adults who were victimized as juvenile/children/adolescents
  • Serving the emotional needs of victims/survivors
  • Providing information, choices and referrals to victims
  • Victims’ rights in sexual assault cold cases



Institute on Domestic Violence Victim Notification Research LINK

Houston Sexual Assault Action Research LINK


Detroit Sexual Assault Kit Action Research Project Report LINK

National Institute on Justice

Untested Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases LINK

Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults LINK


Noël Busch-Armendariz, PhD, LMSW, MPA BIO

Caitlin Sulley, LMSW BIO


This project is supported by Grant No. 2014-TA-AX-K055 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.