Guidelines for the Forensic analysis of drugs facilitating sexual assault and other criminal acts
Drug-facilitated crimes are criminal acts carried out by means of administering a substance to a person with the intention of impairing behaviour, perceptions or decision-making capacity. Drug-facilitated sexual assault occurs when a person is subjected to sexual act(s) while they are incapacitated or unconscious due to the effect(s) of ethanol, a drug and/or other intoxicating substance, and as a result unable to resist or consent to such acts.
While the covert use of drugs to facilitate crimes has occurred over the centuries, it has recently been highlighted by a significant increase in reports worldwide. In response to UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) resolution 53/7 on 'International cooperation in countering the covert administration of psychoactive substances related to sexual assault and other criminal acts', UNODC organized a meeting of international subject-matter experts and developed Guidelines for the Forensic analysis of drugs facilitating sexual assault and other criminal acts.
These Guidelines outline the investigative and analytical challenges related to drug-facilitated crimes and emphasize the importance of evidence collection as a basis for further investigation. They address the limitations of the analytical toxicological investigation and other issues that may impact the interpretation of results. Detailed consideration is given to all analytical aspects important in the detection and identification of substances and interpretation of results in the context of drug-facilitated sexual assault cases. The importance of collaboration of all parties involved in the investigation and the importance of collecting consistent data is also emphasized.
The Guidelines aim to assist in the investigation, analytical detection and prosecution in drug-facilitated crime cases and provide guidance specifically to:
i) investigators and medical professionals as to requirements for successful evidence collection including sample collection and storage; and
ii) analytical toxicologists to carry out analysis of these substances and interpret results in cases of drug-facilitated crimes.