32 CFR § 105.12 - SAFE Kit collection and preservation.

§ 105.12 SAFE Kit collection and preservation.

For the purposes of the SAPR Program, forensic evidence collection and document and evidence retention shall be completed in accordance with this section pursuant to 32 CFR part 103, taking into account the medical condition, needs, requests, and desires of each sexual assault victim covered by this part.

(a) Medical services offered to eligible victims of sexual assault include the ability to elect a SAFE in addition to the general medical management related to sexual assault response, to include medical services and mental healthcare. The SAFE of a sexual assault victim should be conducted by a healthcare provider who has been trained and certified in the collection of forensic evidence and treatment of these victims as specified in § 105.14(g)(4). The forensic component includes gathering information in DD Form 2911 from the victim for the medical forensic history, an examination, documentation of biological and physical findings, collection of evidence from the victim, and follow-up as needed to document additional evidence.

(b) The process for collecting and preserving sexual assault evidence for the Restricted Reporting option is the same as the Unrestricted Reporting option, except that the Restricted Reporting option does not trigger the official investigative process, and any evidence collected has to be placed inside the SAFE Kit, which is marked with the RRCN in the location where the victim's name would have otherwise been written. The victim's SAFE and accompanying Kit is treated as a confidential communication under this reporting option. The healthcare provider shall encourage the victim to obtain referrals for additional medical, psychological, chaplain, victim advocacy, or other SAPR services, as needed. The victim shall be informed that the SARC will assist them in accessing SAPR services.

(c) In situations where installations do not have a SAFE capability, the installation commander will require that the eligible victim, who wishes to have a SAFE, be transported to a MTF or local off-base, non-military facility that has a SAFE capability. Local sexual assault medical forensic examiners or other healthcare providers who are trained and certified as specified in in § 105.14(g)(4) to perform a SAFE may also be contracted to report to the MTF to conduct the examination.

(d) The SARC or SAPR VA shall inform the victim of any local or State sexual assault reporting requirements that may limit the possibility of Restricted Reporting before proceeding with the SAFE.

(e) Upon completion of the SAFE in an Unrestricted Reporting case, the healthcare provider shall package, seal, and label the evidence container(s) with the victim's name and notify the MCIO. The SAFE Kit will be retained for 5 years in accordance with section 586 of Public Law 112-81. When the forensic examination is conducted at a civilian facility through an MOU or an MOA with the DoD, the requirement for the handling of the forensic kit will be explicitly addressed in the MOU or MOA. The MOU or MOA with the civilian facility will address the processes for contacting the SARC and for contacting the appropriate DoD agency responsible for accepting custody of the forensic kit. Personal property retained as evidence collected in association with a sexual assault investigation may be returned to the rightful owner of such property after the conclusion of all legal, adverse action and administrative proceedings related to such incidents in accordance with section 538 of Public Law 113-291.

(1) The DoD law enforcement or MCIO representative shall be trained and capable of collecting and preserving evidence to assume custody of the evidence using established chain of custody procedures, consistent with the guidelines published under the authority and oversight of the IG, DoD.

(2) MOUs and MOAs, with off-base, non-military facilities for the purposes of providing medical care to eligible victims of sexual assault covered under this part, shall include instructions for the notification of a SARC (regardless of whether a Restricted or Unrestricted Report of sexual assault is involved), and procedures of the receipt of evidence and disposition of evidence back to the DoD law enforcement agency or MCIO.

(f) Upon completion of the SAFE in a Restricted Reporting case, the healthcare provider shall package, seal, and label the evidence container(s) with the RRCN and store it in accordance with Service regulations. The SAFE Kit will be retained for 5 years in a location designated by the Military Service concerned. When the forensic examination is conducted at a civilian facility through an MOU or an MOA with the DoD, the requirement for the handling of the forensic kit will be explicitly addressed in the MOU or MOA. The MOU or MOA with the civilian facility will address the processes for contacting the SARC and for contacting the appropriate DoD agency responsible for accepting custody of the forensic kit. The 5-year time frame will start from the date the victim signs the DD Form 2910, but if there is no DD Form 2910, the timeframe will start from the date the SAFE Kit is completed.

(1) The DoD law enforcement or MCIO representative shall be trained and capable of collecting and preserving evidence to assume custody of the evidence using established chain of custody procedures, consistent with the guidelines published under the authority and oversight of the IG, DoD. MOUs and MOAs, with off-base, non-military facilities for the purpose of to providing medical care to eligible victims of sexual assault covered under this part, shall include instructions for the notification of a SARC (regardless of whether a Restricted or Unrestricted Report of sexual assault is involved), procedures for the receipt of evidence, how to request an RRCN, instructions on where to write the RRCN on the SAFE Kit, and disposition of evidence back to the DoD law enforcement agency or MCIO.

(2) Any evidence and the SAFE Kit in Restricted Reporting cases shall be stored for 5 years from the date of the victim's Restricted Report of the sexual assault, thus allowing victims additional time to accommodate, for example, multiple deployments exceeding 12 months.

(i) The SARC will contact the victim at the 1-year mark of the report to inquire whether the victim wishes to change his or her reporting option to Unrestricted.

(A) If the victim does not change to Unrestricted Reporting, the SARC will explain to the victim that the SAFE Kit will be retained for a total of 5 years from the time the victim signed the DD Form 2910 (electing the Restricted Report) and will then be destroyed. The DD Forms 2910 and 2911 will be retained for 50 years in a manner that protects confidentiality. The SARC will emphasize to the victim that his or her privacy will be respected and he or she will not be contacted again by the SARC. The SARC will stress it is the victim's responsibility from that point forward, if the victim wishes to change from a Restricted to an Unrestricted Report, to affirmatively contact a SARC before the 5-year SAFE Kit retention period elapses.

(B) The victim will be advised again to keep a copy of the DD Form 2910 and the DD Form 2911 in his or her personal permanent records as these forms may be used by the victim in other matters with other agencies (e.g., Department of Veterans Affairs) or for any other lawful purpose.

(C) If the victim needs another copy of either of these forms, he or she can request it at this point and the SARC shall assist the victim in accessing the requested copies within 7 business days. The SARC will document this request in the DD Form 2910.

(ii) At least 30 days before the expiration of the 5-year SAFE Kit storage period, the DoD law enforcement or MCIO shall notify the installation SARC that the storage period is about to expire and confirm with the SARC that the victim has not made a request to change to Unrestricted Reporting or made a request for any personal effects.

(A) If there has been no change, then at the expiration of the storage period in compliance with established procedures for the destruction of evidence, the designated activity, generally the DoD law enforcement agency or MCIO, may destroy the evidence maintained under that victim's RRCN.

(B) If, before the expiration of the 5-year storage period, a victim changes his or her reporting preference to the Unrestricted Reporting option, the SARC shall notify the respective MCIO, which shall then assume custody of the evidence maintained by the RRCN from the DoD law enforcement agency or MCIO, pursuant to established chain of custody procedures. MCIO established procedures for documenting, maintaining, and storing the evidence shall thereafter be followed.

(1) The DoD law enforcement agency, which will receive forensic evidence from the healthcare provider if not already in custody, and label and store such evidence shall be designated.

(2) The designated DoD law enforcement agency must be trained and capable of collecting and preserving evidence in Restricted Reports prior to assuming custody of the evidence using established chain of custody procedures.

(iii) Evidence will be stored by the DoD law enforcement agency until the 5-year storage period for Restricted Reporting is reached or a victim changes to Unrestricted Reporting.

[78 FR 21718, Apr. 11, 2013, as amended at 81 FR 66449, Sept. 27, 2016]