Mariska Hargitay may be known as someone who fights crime on screen, but it seems that NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star is also taking to fighting crime in real life.
It was reported earlier this week that Hargitay has joined up with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to announce legislation aimed at stopping rapists from re-offending. The idea behind it is to take steps to better identify rapists through DNA testing.
Over the past few years Worthy’s office has been wading through sexual assault kits recovered from a Detroit police storage facility in 2009. Those kits contain DNA and other pieces of evidence from rape cases, but many of the 11,000 kits were never tested properly in a lab.
Mariska Hargitay, who is also the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation which works with sex abuse victims, said that proper testing could bring to justice rapists who have attacked women.
She noted that the foundation has taken on testing the kits saying that it “is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes in our country.”
She continued to speak about the importance of testing the kits as a way to bring to perpetrators to justice:
“Every day in the United States women and men take the courageous step of reporting their rape to the police. And because of what those individuals have suffered, their bodies are crime scenes. They’re living, breathing, feeling crime scenes from which doctors and nurses collect evidence in a sexual assault collection kit.”
Amazingly, of 1,600 kits tested in Detroit, almost 60% have yielded matches in to people in the federal DNA databank. Some 87 serial rapists were identified through the testing and 10 convictions were made.
Worthy said about the kits that some of them are “over 25 years old, and we want to make sure we deal with the victims mercifully and honestly.Our ultimate goal… when it comes to the legislative side is to identify and apprehend those offenders as soon as possible to stop serial rapists.”
Mariska Hargitay‘s push for the new legislation could be introduced within a month, and as long as the manpower and funding issues are solved, there is no reason why it won’t go ahead on schedule.