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 Answers

For technical assistance regarding forensic DNA and crime victims, email [email protected].

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Victims' Rights and Sexual Assault Kits 

Communities around the country are grappling with how to properly process large numbers of sexual assault forensic examination kits (SAKs) that have remained untested for 10, 15, 20 years or more. Determining what rights victims have in these cases is an important obligation for these jurisdictions. Survivors of these old, unresolved crimes deserve fair and sensitive treatment throughout the backlog reduction process.

States are just beginning to adopt victims' rights laws that will apply specifically to these cases (see box on the right). In the meantime, many existing victims' rights laws may be interpreted to apply in this context. These include:

State DNA Victims’ Bill of Rights

In 2003, California passed the "Sexual Assault Victims' DNA Bill of Rights," the first law of its kind in the nation. This legislation addresses the issue of the importance of timely DNA analysis of rape kit evidence and provides sexual assault victims with the right to be informed of the status of the testing of their kits and whether or not a match has been identified.

Seeking Victim Compensation in Sexual Assault Backlog Cases

Across the country, jurisdictions are moving to process previously untested sexual assault kits (SAKS), some of which had remained untested for decades. When such testing results in further investigation or the reopening of cases, victims may need counseling or other services to cope with the impact of the retesting.They may need to travel or take time from work to speak with investigators. To help pay for these services, they may need to seek crime victim compensation.

Read the full report HERE

State and Federal Laws

More information can be found at Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Reduction Laws for State and Federal levels.

Please note:

The information provided on this Web site is informational only and does not apply to a particular case. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided on this Website should be used or construed as a substitute for the advice of an independent, licensed attorney.

The National Center for Victims of Crime seeks to provide quality information, but can make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information contained in or linked to this Web site.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K048 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.