A rape kit is a sealed container (box, envelope, or bag) with items needed for the collection and preservation of evidence from a sexual assault victim. They are not standardized and will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They are manufactured to the specifications of the jurisdiction ordering them. They also are or contain the receptacle for the collected evidence to go into.

Rape kits contain most of the single use items needed to collect and preserve physical and biologic evidence of a sexual assault. They also contain forms for documentation of the forensic/medical exam. The rape kits in my jurisdiction are provided by the police to the hospital. A multidisciplinary team of medical and law enforcement representatives decided on the contents.

In order to maintain the chain of evidence the rape kit must be secure at all times. The evidence goes from the patient to the person conducting the exam to the law enforcement officer. This means the rape kit, once opened, must remain in the sight and possession of the examiner or be locked in a secure place at all times until turned over to the police. Before being used the examiner must have a case number from the police.

Rape kits may contain things such as:
  • Detailed instructions for the examiner
  • Forms for documentation
  • Tube for blood sample
  • Urine sample container
  • Paper bags for clothing collection
  • Large sheet of paper for patient to undress over
  • Cotton swabs for biological evidence collection
  • Sterile water
  • Sterile saline
  • Glass slides
  • Unwaxed dental floss
  • Wooden stick for fingernail scrapings
  • Envelopes or boxes for individual evidence samples
  • Labels

Other items needed for a forensic/medical exam and treatment that may not be included in the rape kit are:

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