JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS DNA EVIDENCE INFORMATION
FOR VICTIM SERVICE PROVIDERS
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