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Forensic Scientists

Forensic science is based in the theory of transfer; that is, when two objects meet, some evidence of that connection generally can be established and verified at a later time.70

Forensic scientists, also known as criminalists, help prove or disprove links between victims and suspects, clarify case facts, and provide toxicological analysis—especially for suspected drug-facilitated assaults.

Generally, forensic scientists analyze evidence collected in sexual assault forensic examination evidence kits. This might include bite marks, fingernail scrapings, body fluids, trace materials such as grass or dirt, and evidence found on victims' clothing or bedding. In addition, forensic scientists may—

  • Research local, state, and national DNA databases for DNA matches.
  • Review crime scene photographs (including pictures of victims' injuries).
  • Communicate with prosecuting attorneys.
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    In This Toolkit: Forensics

  • Provide court testimony.
  • Provide feedback to medical forensic examiners for quality assurance purposes.

Forensic scientists' roles and responsibilities vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Procedures depend on laws within the jurisdiction, SART agency protocols, and case facts.71