(QUEEN CITY NEWS) — In North Carolina, what was once taboo is now seeing more attention.
“I don’t think people understand how pervasive domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse is, because there is such a stigma on talking about it,” said Jessie Lindberg with Turning Point, an organization in Union County supporting victims of those crimes.
In the state, there could be more help coming in the form of legislation requiring more DNA for those arrested for assault on a female by a male, and for assault on a child under the age of 12, which are misdemeanors.
The bill, known as HB674, would add the charges, which are usually associated with domestic violence, to the list of those where samples would be taken. Those arrested for violent felonies in North Carolina already have to submit their DNA.
“This could potentially save other people from experiencing sexual assault,” said Lindberg. “These abusers, if they sexually assault somebody and they go to jail, when they get out, there’s a very good chance they’re going to do it again.”
Part of the reasoning for the legislation also includes an effort to address a backlog of rape kits that have yet to be tested. The additions of those charged could likely result in more matches, experts believe.
“It’s about darn time and this should be part of what the discussion is going forward,” said Lindberg.
The legislation passed with overwhelmingw support in the State House, and is currently in committee in the State Senate.