Contact: Office of Justice Programs, Congressional and Public Affairs Office, 202-307-0703


   SAN ANTONIO, Texas, May 25,  -- Tonight at a national conference for professionals who work with sexual assault victims, the Justice Department will release two new publications to help victim service providers better understand DNA evidence and its significance.


   "DNA evidence has revolutionized how law enforcement

investigates violent crimes, particularly rape and sexual assault,"

said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "As the use of DNA evidence

grows, we must make sure that victims and those who help them know

how this evidence is collected and used to bring offenders to



   The two publications, a bulletin and a brochure titled

"Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers,"

are intended for victim service provides, crime scene technicians

and other medical personnel.  Both describe the basics of DNA,

where DNA evidence can be found at a crime scene or on the victim

and procedures for proper evidence collection and preservation.

They also contain information about the Combined DNA Index System

(CODIS), a database that allows federal, state and local forensic

crime laboratories to work together to solve crimes that contain

biological evidence.  In addition, they provide a list of

references and selected publications on DNA evidence.


   The bulletin includes more detailed information on DNA

collection and testing and how to explain the role of DNA evidence

to a crime victim.  It also features case studies illustrating how

DNA evidence can be used to convict offenders or exonerate

defendants in criminal cases.  The bulletin also contains a

glossary of key DNA-related technological terms that victim service

providers may encounter during an investigation.


   The brochure is a collection between the National Institute of

Justice (NIJ), Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and the National

Commission on the Future DNA Evidence.


   Both the bulletin and the brochure will be distributed at the

OVC-sponsored Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Training

Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  The SART Training, the first

national, multidisciplinary training conference on serving sexual

assault victims, will begin tonight and continue through Sunday.

More than 660 participants are expected, including law enforcement

professionals, prosecutors, forensic examiners, sexual assault

nurse examiners, victim service providers and victim advocates.


   "Understanding DNA Evidence: A guide for Victim Service

Providers," the brochure and the bulletin, are available through

the Office of Justice Programs website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov,

from the OVC Resource Center at 1-800-627-6872 and from the

National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 800-851-3420.

More information about the SART Training Conference is available at



   Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public

Affairs at 202-307-0703