Challening privacy: Using the national DNA database to support victims of sexed violence

Lipscombe, Sarah (2009) Challening privacy: Using the national DNA database to support victims of sexed violence. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The National DNA Database raises controversial issues over privacy, consent, human rights, crime prevention and control. Taking these themes as guides, I will develop a critical discussion on the issue of sexed violence to exemplify how the law has failed to provide sanction for victims of this crime due to hegemonic masculinity. Campaigning groups for Violence Against Women call for more robust case-building in cases of sexed violence where DNA forensic evidence is crucial. The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary's recent report 'Without Consent' highlights the low conviction rate for rape suggesting that this
section of the criminal justice system is in a state of crisis. I will argue that it is necessary to utilise and develop the database as a tool for improved conviction rates and a possible reduction in incidence, through the power of detection and deterrence. However various human rights groups object to the existence and development of the database on grounds of privacy. I will challenge this notion of privacy and suggest that civil rights are founded through perceived threats and fear. Furthermore I will problematise whether there is a modern concept of privacy as masculinist that is employed by some human rights discourse. This concept of privacy operates a patriarchal hegemonic discourse to oppose women's justice by keeping active criminals protected from investigation, therefore objections to the database on this basis should be contested in order to allow and accept DNA databasing as a crime control method against sexed violence. A compromise is necessary between operation and regulation. I will ask whether the database is only a small infringement on the rights of citizens for the assurance of improved detection, crime reduction and justice within today's society.

Repository Staff Only: item control page