Welcome to the DNA Resource Center

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.

Resources for Sexual Assault Victims

Sexual assault is a traumatic crime that can have long lasting impacts on survivors and their loved ones.  After a sexual assault, you may choose to have evidence collected as part of a rape kit or sexual assault kit (SAK). This decision can be a difficult one. You probably have questions about what will happen to your rape kit and how it will be used.  Unfortunately, having a rape kit does not guarantee that it will be tested or that your case will be solved. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of unanalyzed kits sit in evidence lockers—these unsolved sexual assault cases affect survivors in many ways. You may feel that your case remains unsolved because you were not believed, judged, or blamed. You might feel let down by the criminal justice system. You may be angry, confused, or overwhelmed. You may simply want answers.

DNA testing is a powerful tool that can often be used to bring answers and justice to survivors. DNA evidence can also present complicated issues for you to grapple with. Survivors whose kits have been backlogged—or who wonder what happened to their kits—often yearn for information about DNA and their rights. This webpage is designed to help guide you to information and resources regarding the use of DNA in sexual assault cases.


 

Resources from the National Center 

for Victims of Crime


General Information for Victims

DNA and Crime Victims Brochure, available in English and Spanish. This brochure outlines the DNA collection process for victims and its potential impact on their cases.

Frequently Asked Questions about DNAThis page covers some basic questions that many victims have about DNA evidence in sexual assault cases.

Sexual Assault Kit Testing: What Victims Need to Know. This document provides a general overview of sexual assault kit testing and answers common questions victims may have about the testing of their kits. 

Legal Information for Victims

Statutes of Limitation for Sexual Assault. These resources include a chart listing state statute of limitation for various sexual assault offenses and information on how the statute of limitations and evidence retention polices can impact cases. 

Victim Compensation in Sexual Assault Backlog CasesThis paper gives an overview of how victim compensation works in sexual assault cases, so victims can access counseling and other services they may need to cope with the retesting of their kits. 

Victims' Rights. Victims of crime have specific rights, such as the right to be heard, the right to be notified, and the right to privacy. 

Cold Cases

Notifications in Cold Cases. Cold cases present a host of unique issues for victims. Read more about victim-sensitive notifications practices in this brochure.  .  

Victims and DNA Exonerations. This brochure explains the post-conviction testing and exoneration process so victims can know their rights and find support during this process. 

Working with Victims in Cold Cases. In this webinar, experts talk about their work with sexual assault survivors in cold cases

Survivor Stories 

Many victims want to share their story as a part of their healing process. Below are profiles of survivors speaking about their experience and the effect the rape kit backlog has had on them.

For more, read the report from our survivor roundtable: Survivor Perspectives.

If You've Been Raped:

Call RAINN’s national hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673),

Or find your local rape crisis center here.

 

 

“What to Do if You’re a Victim of Sexual Violence,” from the Office for Victims of Crime.

 “After Sexual Assault,” from Safe Horizon.

Find more information about Crime Victim’s Compensation in Your State.

OVC’s Victim Services Search Page. Find resources in your state. (You can specifically search for “adult sexual assault” resources).