The Joyful Heart Foundation and Mariska Hargitay Release Video in Support of Expanding New York’s DNA Databank

January 19, 2012, New York — In a video released today, actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay expresses her support for expanding the DNA Databank in New York State to include DNA samples from offenders convicted of all felonies and every penal law misdemeanor. The Databank currently captures offender profiles for only 46% of crimes in the state penal law.                                                                                         

As Ms. Hargitay notes in the video:

The use of DNA technology has revolutionized the criminal justice system in the United States. It has meant that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes, survivors receive the justice they deserve and thousands more are spared the trauma and pain of sexual violence. We know that individuals who commit serious crimes, like rape, have broken the law before. A single DNA sample often matches to multiple cold cases when entered into the New York DNA Databank. We also know that many rapists have previous convictions for lower level crimes. In fact, since New York began collecting DNA samples for some misdemeanor convictions in 2006, offender profiles from shoplifting and criminal trespass convictions alone have matched to 332 sexual assault cases.

This reform will bring healing and justice to survivors, hold violent offenders accountable, solve and prevent crimes and avoid wrongful convictions. It is now time for New York to use DNA to its fullest potential.

The Joyful Heart Foundation is part of a state-wide coalition of victim advocates working to expand the DNA Databank. As Michael Polenberg, Co-Chair of the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims, noted, “As victim service providers, we support this effort because we want to do everything we can to prevent even one more family from being impacted by horrific violence and abuse, and we know DNA can help.” 

To view the video go to: For more information on expanding the New York DNA Databank, go to



About the Joyful Heart Foundation

Actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. Joyful Heart's vision is a community that is empowered with knowledge, courage and compassion to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse heal mind, body and spirit; values and dedicates resources to individuals and families that have been affected by these issues; and seeks to ignite and foster an open dialogue about how to collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse.

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