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

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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.

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

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Victims' Rights and Backlog Reduction Laws

The Right to Notice About the Status of the Case

In many instances, sexual assault victims are unaware that their sexual assault examination kits have not been tested and that little or no progress has been made in their cases since a perpetrator has not been identified. A number of states give victims the right to notice of the status of the investigation in their cases. By exercising this right, sexual assault victims may be able to inquire whether their kits have been tested, and if so, the results of that testing. 

The following are examples of a victim’s right to notice about the status of his or her case:


D.C. Code §23-1902. Notice to crime victims.

(2) During the investigation and prosecution of a crime, a responsible official shall provide the victim, to the extent possible, with timely notice of the:

(A) Status of the investigation of the crime, to the extent it is appropriate to inform the victim and to the extent that it will not interfere with the investigation;


725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 120/4-5. Procedures to implement the rights of crime victims.

To afford crime victims their rights, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and corrections will provide information, as appropriate of the following procedures:

(a) At the request of the crime victim, law enforcement authorities investigating the case shall provide notice of the status of the investigation, except where the State's Attorney determines that disclosure of such information would unreasonably interfere with the investigation, until such time as the alleged assailant is apprehended or the investigation is closed.


Mo. Rev. Stat. §595.209. Rights of victims and witnesses--written notification, requirements.

1. The following rights shall automatically be afforded to victims of dangerous felonies, as defined in section 556.061, victims of murder in the first degree, as defined in section 565.020, victims of voluntary manslaughter, as defined in section 565.023, and victims of an attempt to commit one of the preceding crimes, as defined in section 564.011; and, upon written request, the following rights shall be afforded to victims of all other crimes and witnesses of crimes:

 (5) The right to be informed by local law enforcement agencies, the appropriate juvenile authorities or the custodial authority of the following:

(a) The status of any case concerning a crime against the victim, including juvenile offenses;


Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-1846. Victim and witness assistance centers; purposes.

The centers shall be designed to:

 (5) Assure that victims and witnesses are informed of the progress of the case in which they are involved.

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.