Rachel Dissell

Rachel Dissell

Rachel Dissell

Senior Investigative Reporter, Independent Journalist


Rachel Dissell is a JSK Community Impact Fellow and an independent journalist in Cleveland, Ohio. She reported for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland for nearly two decades. She has written investigative pieces and examined policies around Cleveland’s response to sexual assault, lead poisoning and the impact of trauma on victims and survivors of violence. Her stories have led to changes in laws, policies and public perceptions, including an investigative series with reporter Leila Atassi that led to the testing of nearly 14,000 rape kits and the investigations of decades old cases that followed. Since then, nearly 800 defendants in Cleveland have been indicted in previously unprosecuted rape cases. Ms. Dissell contributed to the creation of End Violence Against Women International’s online training module Untested Evidence and the Investigation of Cold Sexual Assault Cases. This free training, funded by the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, is available to law enforcement and allied professionals online 24/7. Ms. Dissell was a 2015 Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Ochberg Fellow and has received training in the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed interviewing and storytelling techniques and ethics. She also researched and participated in two documentary films, I Am Evidence, about untested rape kits and Roll Red Roll, which appeared on PBS, and examined the Steubenville rape case. In April 2011, Ms. Dissell received End Violence Against Women International’s first ever Media Award to recognize her for achieving the highest standards of media excellence and accurately portraying the dynamics of sexual violence and the devastating impact on victims.