DNA databases are making an impact on justice. The DNA database are assisting law enforcement officers in catching serial rapists, according to a source from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.
“One of the problems that emerged when sexual assault kits were not being submitted is that it disabled us from being able to identify and recognize that many of these perpetrators were not just perpetrating one time but were committing sexual assault against multiple victims in different jurisdictions and sometimes in other states,” said Tasha Menaker.
Often, law enforcement knows who the perpetrator is in a case, but they don’t know who else may be a victim.
“Now that we are entering that DNA into databases and testing all these kits, we’re seeing that these people are actually perpetrating against multiple people,” she said.
It’s vital for law enforcement officers and judges to take accusations seriously and to treat victims with respect when they come forward with information.
“We got in this situation with so many kits untested because law enforcement was not submitting kits to the crime lab, and sometimes the reason that was happening is because they weren’t believing survivors,” she said. “And so if law enforcement had submitted those kits, we could have prevented other sexual assaults from happening.”
Unlike other states, Arizona doesn’t allocate resources to sexual assault survivors.
“It’s just important for Arizona as a state to invest in services so that people can engage in a process of healing,” she said. “Compared to other states nationally, we’re a little bit behind the curve in terms of what we’re doing to make sure that survivors have options for support and healing.”