Dr. Lovell's research interests focus primarily on gender-based violence—in particular, sexual assault, human sex trafficking and sex work, and intimate partner violence. She currently serves as Co-PI research partner on a Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Initiative grant funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. On the SAK project, she is currently examining issues pertaining to the unsubmitted SAKs in Cuyahoga County. Additionally, Dr. Lovell’s current research focuses on issues pertaining to human sex trafficking and sex work in Chicago, Illinois and Northeast Ohio.
Prior to coming to Case, Dr. Lovell served as the Senior Research Methodologist at the Social Science Research Center at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University, where her doctoral research examined cross-national gender differences in patterns and consequences of occupational-career interruptions in the United States, Sweden, and Poland. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Q: Why is your work at the Begun Center important to you, to our community, and to the world? I am not sure I could ever go back to doing more traditional academic research after having been an applied researcher for so long, because applied work is at the core of making a change. In answering the question of ‘so what?’ the sociology I was taught often never engaged the community; we used secondary data sets to explore topics that interested us but we rarely thought about what it would mean or how to explain to others. It was for the sake of intellectual exercise. The work at Begun Center is so fulfilling because it has a direct application to make improvements, and you appeal directly to stakeholders.
Q: What is a cause about which you are particularly passionate? Gender inequality is at the core of most of what I do, in particular gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, workplace gender discrimination, rape, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence.
Dr. Lovell is an experienced statistician/methodologist and has served in that capacity on some funded research projects. In terms of quantitative methodologies, Rachel has experience with (but not limited to) structural equation modeling, longitudinal data analysis, time series analysis, multivariate regression, survival analysis, quasi-experimental designs, missing data analysis, power analysis, and multilevel modeling. She is proficient in programming for several statistical packages (SPSS and Stata) and working knowledge of several others (SAS, R, Mplus, AMOS, HLM, LISREL, and LIMDEP).
She also designed, developed, and analyzed projects using qualitative methodologies such as structured, semi-structured, and unstructured interviews, focus groups, and content analysis. Additionally, she is proficient in several computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software programs (NVivo and ATLAS.ti).
Rachel has presented the findings from her research at national and international conferences in the criminology, mental/behavioral health, sociology, and related fields and published these results in various professional journals. She also served as an evaluator/methodologist for organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County Family and Children First Council, Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and the Begun Foundation.
Testing Unsubmitted Rape Kits Saves Money
Collaborative Partnerships and the DNA Testing of Unsubmitted SAKs
The Police Chief (Official Publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police), 2018.
"Offending patterns for serial sex offenders identified via the DNA testing of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits." Journal of Criminal Justice, ISSN: 0047-2352, Vol: 52, Page: 68-78. September, 2017.
Testing of backlogged rape evidence leads to hundreds of convictions
The Conversation, November 13, 2016.
In the News
Begun Center Receives Nearly $5M in Violence Prevention Funding
December 4, 2018
New research from CWRU reveals information previously known about serial rapists to be wrong
March 2018 | News 5 Cleveland
Serial rapists don’t necessarily have an MO
February 2018 | The Marion Star
What might we learn from the Ohio Rape Kit Survey project?: Progress Report
September 2017 | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits On The Agenda When Lawmakers Return To State Capitol
August 2017 | Capital Public Radio
Help find out what’s happened with 13,931 Ohio rape kits sent for testing
July 2017 | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Lawmakers set to pass rape kit retention bill, but not mandatory testing
April 2017 | The Baltimore Sun
Rape Kit Research Update
February 2017 | ideastream Ideas
Missed opportunities’ provide lessons for better rape investigations and prosecutions
February 2017 | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Even after backlogged rape kits tested, convictions are rare
December 2016 | CBS News
A flawed, inconsistent police response to sexual assault in Maryland
December 2016 | Baltimore Sun
Why Testing Rape Kits Would Save Us Millions In Fight To Catch Serial Rapists
November 2016 | Elite Daily
Sexual Assault Kit Task Force, Case Western researchers get $3 million for rape kit work, to collect ‘owed’ DNA
September 2016 | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Here’s Some Good News for Sexual-Assault Victims
September 2016 | Mother Jones
It’s Official: Testing Rape Kits Prevents Assault And Saves Everybody Millions
September 2016 | Forbes
Congress Just Unanimously Passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights
September 2016 | Broadly/Vice
Testing Rape Kit Backlogs Saves Millions Of Dollars
September 2016 | Vocativ
Rape Kit Testing & Research
June 2016 | ideastream Sound of Ideas
The cost of testing rape kits: Experts say it’s saved us $38.7 million so far
June 2016 | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Five Myths about Rape
June 2016 | Washington Post
Researchers Just Revealed a Startling Truth about Sexual Assault
June 2016 | ATTN