U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

The Relationship of DNA Evidence to Prosecution Outcomes in Sexual Assault Cases

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: Online Dated: February 2022
Theodore P. Cross; Laura Siller; Maja Vlajnic; Megan Alderden
Date Published
February 2022

This study examined the relationship between DNA evidence and outcomes of prosecution of sexual assault.



Researchers coded data from prosecutor and crime laboratory files for sexual assault cases referred to prosecutors between 2005 and 2011 in a metropolitan jurisdiction in the northeastern United States. Cases with a DNA match were significantly more likely to move forward and result in conviction, even with other predictor variables statistically controlled. Analyses suggest DNA evidence contributes to case progression but also is a result of it. These findings strengthen the case for quality forensic medical examinations, investment in DNA analysis, and increased prosecutor training. (Publisher Abstract)