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

March-17-03

More Federal Dollars Proposed for DNA Testing

Attorney General John Ashcroft last week announced a proposal that would allocate $1 billion over five years for DNA testing. Slated to begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, the new Justice Department budget would include $176 million for lab equipment and training, $80 million for DNA testing in unsolved cases, and $15 million to reduce the testing backlog on DNA rape kits. According to the Justice Department, the backlog for rape kits is estimated at 180,000 to 500,000 nationwide, reported the Virginian-Pilot.

This latest move by the administration complements recent legislative measures in Congress. Earlier this month, Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) introduced the Debbie Smith Act of 2003, requiring health officials to test rape victim DNA samples within 10 days of receipt and allocating federal funding for comprehensive training of hospital examiners working with rape victims and standardization and facilitation of DNA evidence collection and testing.

Introduced by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) in January, the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2003-- which requires local law enforcement agencies to assess their DNA backlog-- provides federal funding for laboratory processing of rape kits, expanded DNA testing, evidence collection and handling training, and computer upgrades for the FBI’s DNA database. In addition, the bill authorizes John Doe/DNA indictments whereby DNA evidence may extend the five-year statute of limitations on a federal sexual offense.
Several related bills were proposed last year. However, none passed both the House and Senate.

Prompt DNA testing is critical because 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. The FBI’s national DNA database, established in 1990 and containing approximately 1.3 million entries, has made over 6,000 matches and aided in nearly 6,500 criminal investigations, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report indicating that more than half of all violent crimes in the US go unreported. Most crime victims—especially victims of rape or simple assault—who did not report reasoned their experience was “a personal matter,” according to the Washington Post. However, 12 percent of those raped or sexually assaulted said they did not report for fear of retribution.

TAKE ACTION Support the Debbie Smith Act/DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2003

Media Resources: Daily Herald 3/10/03; USA Today 3/11/03; Associated Press 3/10/03, 3/11/03; Virginian-Pilot 3/13/03; Bureau of Justice Statistics 3/9/03


© 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

7/2/2015 President Obama Will Expand Overtime Pay to Millions of Americans - President Obama is proposing a plan this week to broaden overtime pay that is expected to affect millions of Americans in the working class, especially women. In an Op-Ed written for and published by the Huffington Post, President Obama summarized what he called a successful week for Americans. . . .
 
7/2/2015 National Portrait Gallery Honors Dolores Huerta - Feminist Majority Foundation board member and lifelong feminist activist Dolores Huerta was honored by the National Portrait Gallery last night as the first Latina person to have a featured exhibition at the museum. Huerta is an active defender of civil rights, farm workers' rights, women's rights, and immigrant rights, and has been for over five decades. . . .
 
7/1/2015 Women's Rights Activists are Suing the Kenyan Government for Reproductive Rights - A woman in Kenya is suing the Kenyan government for failure to provide safe and legal abortions, which caused her daughter - a 15-year-old rape victim - to suffer a kidney failure after undergoing the procedure illegally. Currently, there are four petitioners on the case: the mother of the survivor, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, and two other women's rights advocates. . . .