Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rape Kit Testing Backlog Delays Justice

There was an AP story over at Yahoo News that looked at the backlog of testing of "rape kit" evidence collected from victims of sexual assault.
According to some estimates, between 180,000 and 400,000 rape kits remain untested nationwide, despite DNA technology that can swiftly link rapists to crimes.

Between 9,000 and 11,300 rape kits stored by Detroit police were collected two years ago by Michigan State Police.
The kits are being documented and tested in batches as part of a National Institute for Justice project. Initially, about 400 were chosen. Another batch of about 1,000 has been identified for testing so far this year.
Testing these kits is expensive, over $1,000 each. But to let these kits sit on a shelf often denies victims a shot at justice for the crime that was done to them. It's going to take grant funding for many agencies to be able to test the backlog of rape kits they have sitting in their evidence rooms.

I'm glad to see agencies obtaining grants for testing these kits. I'm hopeful that when the new UCR Rape reporting guidelines are enacted that the shocking crime numbers will bring more attention and resources to bear in combating these crimes.


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