This is a past program. Information is provided for archival purposes only.

Welcome to the DNA Resource Center

We are committed to raising awareness about the importance of forensic DNA as a tool to help solve and prevent crime and bring justice to victims.

DNA Webinar Archive

  • How is the Ohio BCI handing 9,000 rape kits that need testing?

    December 16, 2014 1:00 PM
    In late 2011, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a statewide initiative to get previously-untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) off law enforcement departments’ shelves and into the lab for testing. Since then, 147 agencies have submitted 9,021 SAKs to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), which is handling most of the testing. To date, about 60% of these kits have been tested. Hear from David Miller, a forensic scientist, about how BCI is handling the influx of cases while maintaining current turnaround times for new cases. The success of BCI’s program demonstrates that managing testing for large numbers of SAKs can be accomplished. As more communities discover untested kits, it’s likely other crime labs will face this issue soon.

  • Stopping Rapists in Ohio By Testing Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs)

    December 3, 2014 1:00 PM
    Since early 2013, Cleveland, Ohio, has sent more than 4,000 previously-untested sexual assault kits out for analysis and have experienced amazing results that positively impact public safety. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) has issued indictments against 229 defendants as a result of CODIS hits and 155 serial offenders have been identified. Learn from CCPO prosecutor Rick Bell about the cases they have solved by testing these unsubmitted SAKs and the lessons they have learned along the way about the importance of testing rape kits.

  • Untested Rape Kits: the Issue, the Impact, and the Response

    June 25, 2014 1:00 PM
    This webinar focuses on our nation’s untested sexual assault kit problem, the impact on victims’ lives, how it differs from the “rape kit backlog,” and innovative federal and state policy initiatives underway to address the issue.

  • Fighting Trafficking with the Power of Forensic Science

    June 23, 2014 1:00 PM
    This webinar will focus on new efforts to address worldwide trafficking in persons using forensic science.

  • Into the Lab: Mandatory Testing of Sexual Assault Kits

    April 25, 2014 2:00 PM
    Illinois (in 2009) and Texas (in 2011) enacted state laws mandating the testing of sexual assault kits (SAKs). Both laws required audits of the untested sexual assault kits that had languished for years in evidence storage rooms as well as timely testing of all sexual assault kits moving forward. This webinar will describe how the Illinois and Texas laws came about, key aspects of both states’ laws, results of the statewide audits and impact of the laws on the criminal justice system and victims of sexual assault. Speakers will discuss barriers to passage of these laws, challenges to implementation, and wish lists for improvement.

  • Enhancing Sexual Assault Investigations Through Cultural Change: A Case Study

    March 26, 2014 2:00 PM
    This webinar, presented by Mary Lentschke, Assistant Chief for the Houston Police Department, describes the cultural shift that occurred within the Houston Police Department over the last two and a half years as a result of a grant from the National Institute of Justice to examine the issue of untested evidence in sexual assaults. The paradigm shift took more than training or revised protocols, but resulted in the integration of stakeholder services and a renewed focus on victims’ needs; both which improve sexual assault investigations and outcomes for victims.

  • The Untested Rape Kit Crisis and Cold Case Sexual Assault Prosecutions

    March 14, 2014 2:00 PM
    In 2009, over 11,300 untested rape kits were discovered in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, a two and one-half year project was begun to determine why the kits went untested and to develop strategies for preventing this type of crisis from reoccurring. This webinar is presented by Kym Worthy.

  • Serial Offending and the Testing of Rape Kits

    January 14, 2014 11:00 AM

    Research on so-called “undetected” rapists – men who commit rapes but who are either not reported or not prosecuted for their crimes – has clearly demonstrated that the old stereotypes about rapists are false. This webinar, presented by Dr. David Lisak, covers how undetected rapists, who represent the vast majority of rapists, and account for the vast majority of rapes, use extensive planning, often use of alcohol and other drugs to render their victims vulnerable, and rely on minimal force to threaten and intimidate their victims into submission. A majority of these rapists are serial offenders, and the evidence suggests that they typically begin their offending careers during adolescence. Evidence also indicates that serial offenders account for more than 90% of all rapes. These data underscore the potential importance of testing non -stranger sexual assault kits and maintaining DNA databases derived from the processing of rape kits.

  • The Long Road to Justice: Victims' Rights and Untested Sexual Assault Kits

    December 11, 2013 2:00 PM
    Several communities have started large scale testing of previously untested (backlogged) sexual assault kits. Most of the victims, whose kits have sat untested for 10, 15 and even 20 years, never thought they would be contacted by law enforcement after so many years. Yet many victims are being contacted and their statutory crime victims’ rights are in place to help them. This webinar looks at the rights of crime victims within the context of processing sexual assault kits. We’ll look at how existing victims’ rights can apply, as well as new developments in victims’ rights specifically crafted with cold cases and sexual assault kits in mind.

  • No More Harm: Untested Sexual Assault Kits and Communities of Color

    October 29, 2013 2:00 PM
    This webinar consists of an analytical and philosophical conversation addressing the needs of sexual assault survivors within communities of color. The webinar places this conversation in the context of the recent large scale testing in several communities of untested (backlogged) rape kits that have revealed a disproportionately high number of untested kits where the victim was a person of color. Based on their experiences nationally and in the Michigan 400 Project, Condencia Brade from Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault and Debi Cain from the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board discuss key issues that are intended to broaden the perspective of those who work with sexual assault survivors in communities of color. They address the unique challenges and provide strategies for working with survivors of color when reopening years or decades old sexual assault cases when evidence was only recently tested.

  • A Legislator and Survivor Speak

    October 15, 2013 2:00 PM
    Learn from a Nevada state legislator why she championed a bill to enable law enforcement to collect DNA from felony arrestees. Senator Debbie Smith (D-NV) will discuss overcoming barriers to passage, lessons learned along the way, and how collaborations contribute to best practices in policymaking. Hear from Jayann Sepich, mother, homicide survivor, and founder of, about the importance of DNA arrestee legislation. Both speakers will explain how passing state legislation that enables law enforcement to collect DNA from felony arrestees can prevent crime, solve cases, and provide protection to the innocent.

  • New York State's DNA Databank: A Powerful Law Enforcement Tool

    July 30, 2013 2:00 PM
    Learn about New York State’s successful effort to expand its DNA Databank and maximize the power of DNA as a law enforcement tool. Hear Mike Green, executive deputy commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, discuss the State’s program to collect DNA from persons convicted of all misdemeanor crimes under the Penal Law (in addition to collecting for felonies). 

    Hear about how expanding the databank is a key part of New York’s efforts to make its criminal justice system as fair and accurate as possible and to ensure a system that protects the rights of all, whether the victim of a crime of accused of a crime.

  • Sexual Assault Cold Case Survivors and the Neurobiology of Trauma

    April 23, 2013 1:00 PM
    WHEN: April 23, 2013 WHAT TIME: 1PM EST Free Webinar: Hear from one of our country’s foremost researchers on violence against women about the neurobiology of trauma and sexual assault cold case survivors. Dr. Campbell will explain how the brain responds to trauma and the impact of trauma on victim participation in the criminal justice system. In particular, participants will gain an understanding of the way trauma affects victim participation in cases that are “reactivated” after many years have passed. Learn how trauma affects a victim’s reaction to the crime and the ability to remember details of the assault.

  • Investigating and Prosecuting Non-Stranger and Stranger Cold Case Sexual Assaults

    April 9, 2013 1:00 PM
    Hear from an experienced law enforcement professional, Jim Markey, and sexual assault trial attorney Patti Powers who will explain approaches and challenges to pursuing cold case sexual assaults.

  • New York City’s Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Project: Lessons Learned

    February 13, 2013 1:00 PM
    Hear from Martha Bashford, the chief of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit, about New York City’s “Backlog Project,” through which 17,000 previously-unexamined sexual assault evidence kits were outsourced for DNA analysis. Ms. Bashford will discuss why NYC decided to test every backlogged rape kit, lessons learned along the way, and some of the cases they solved through the Project. 

  • Victim Notification In An Audit of Unprocessed Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kits: Lessons Learned From the Michigan 400 Project

    December 17, 2012 1:30 PM
    The 400 Project was an OVW-funded project initiated by the Michigan Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Treatment Board in early 2010 to determine the scope of work, cost, and likely outcome of forensic analysis of more than 10,000 unresolved sexual assault forensic evidence kits found in the City of Detroit Police Department Crime Lab.

  • Working with Victims with Cold Hit DNA Cases

    September 12, 2012 8:00 PM
    Hear from Detective Rick Noble and Crisis Intervention Supervisor Cindy Malott about their work with sexual assault survivors in cold hit DNA cases.

  • Untested Sexual Assault Kits: Improving the Response to Victims Through Research and Technical Assistant Projects

    June 26, 2012 8:00 PM
    Learn about the DNA Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice's partnership to ensure the effort to reduce the backlog of untested sexual assault kits includes a victim-centered system response and service provision.  Also hear about the National Institute of Justice's Action Research project to examine the issue of untested sexual assault kits and to develop evidence-based practices that can be shared with jurisdictions also facing this problem.  

  • Arrestee DNA Testing: Preventing Crime and Saving Lives

    November 8, 2011 7:00 PM
    Hear Jayann Sepich speak about the importance of DNA arrestee legislation. Learn how passing state legislation that enables law enforcement to collect DNA from felony arrestees can prevent crime, solve cases, and provide protection to the innocent. This session also addresses privacy and funding issues.

  • Familial DNA Searching

    October 23, 2011 8:00 PM
    Hear Denver, Colorado District Attorney Mitch Morrisey discuss the benefits and challenges of familial DNA searching and how this technology has resulted in successful identifications and convictions. Mr. Morrisey also discusses some of the major misconceptions and limitations regarding this practice.