Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-16-02

Senate Passes Bill to Test More Rape Kits

The Senate last week unanimously approved the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2002 (S 2313), a bill aimed at reducing the growing nationwide backlog of DNA evidence for sexual assault cases. Passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, the bill requires local law enforcement agencies to assess their DNA backlog and provides $335 million over the next five years to facilitate efficient processing of DNA rape kits. Introduced by Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), the act also boosts federal grants to expand DNA testing, establishes grant programs for evidence collection and handling training, and stipulates upgrades for the FBI’s DNA computer system. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the bill’s co-sponsor, praised the Senate’s action: “This legislation will help bring justice to women for whom justice is long overdue.”

The Act includes provisions from a companion bill, the Debbie Smith Act, which requires that health officials test rape victim DNA samples within 10 days of receipt, introduced in the House and Senate by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Cantwell in May.

Prompt testing is particularly critical since the perpetrators are able to roam free in the meantime — which not only adds anxiety to the victim, but also leaves all women at risk, given that the average rapist commits eight to 12 sexual assaults. Adding considerable legal punch, the Act authorizes John Doe/DNA indictments whereby DNA evidence may extend the five-year statute of limitations on a federal sexual offense and also includes privacy requirements for handling DNA evidence.

The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

TAKE ACTION Lifetime Television network is sponsoring an online petition to rally support for reducing the nationwide backlog of DNA evidence for sexual assault cases.

Media Resources: Associated Press 9/13/02, 9/14/02; DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2002 (S. 2513) 9/16/02; Feminist Daily News 8/2/02; Senator Maria Cantwell press release 9/13/02


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/29/2014 Terry O'Neill Was One of Hundreds Arrested Calling for Immigration Reform at White House Rally - Thursday, nearly 300 people were arrested in front of the White House during a rally calling on President Barack Obama to halt mass deportations. . . .
 
8/29/2014 BREAKING: Fifth Circuit Blocks Texas TRAP Law Provision! - WASHINGTON - The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds U.S. . . .
 
8/29/2014 Domestic Violence Victims May Now Qualify For Asylum in the US - A recent case has opened the door for victims of domestic violence abroad to qualify for asylum in the United States. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals ruled for the first time on Tuesday that a victim of domestic violence fit a specific criterion for asylum: persecution for membership in a particular social group. . . .