Crime Labs photo

Crime Labs

Crime labs use scientific techniques to process evidence collected during sexual assault exams and by law enforcement. Crime labs do not interpret the evidence or decide what the evidence means.

Specific roles of the crime lab are:

  • Analyzing sexual assault evidence collection kits collected at the hospital. This includes reviewing the victim’s statement and looking for biological evidence within the kit, such as semen and saliva, to help support the victim’s statement.
  • Analyzing other items of evidence for the presence of blood, semen, saliva and skin cells. All of these biological materials contain DNA.
  • Entering samples into the local, state, and national DNA matching systems, CODIS.
  • Reporting the scientific findings to police detectives and the District Attorney in the region where the crime occurred.

The Boston Police Department’s crime lab handles evidence for cases in Boston. The Massachusetts State Police Department’s Crime Lab handles evidence for the rest of the state.

Forensics for Survivors © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This project was supported by Grant #2009-WF-AX-0014 awarded by the Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Office of Grants & Research and subgranted to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Points of view in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division.