Federal funding needed for rape kit reform


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Over the past several years, news has poured in about thousands of untested rape kits found in police evidence facilities in cities across the country—20,000 in Texas, 12,669 in Los Angeles, 4,000 in Illinois, 5,523 in Ohio, 11,304 in Detroit and 12,164 in Memphis.

The discovery of each trove of untested kits is shocking to the public, concerning to survivors of sexual violence, disappointing to victim advocates, and humbling for law enforcement. The announcement that President Obama’s FY15 budget includes – for the first time – $35 million in dedicated funding, to support community response teams in their work to address untested rape kits in police storage facilities, is a relief to public officials committed to comprehensive reform. 

 

We understand the opportunities for justice and healing contained in those untested kits. DNA from the kit can identify an unknown rapist, confirm the identity of a known assailant, corroborate the victim’s account, and exonerate innocent suspects. In a jurisdiction like New York City, with a long-standing policy to test every rape kit booked into police evidence, the arrest rate for rape skyrocketed from 40 percent to 70 percent once mandatory rape kit testing was implemented. When Detroit tested its first 1600 kits, it found 100 serial rapists, and linked rape kits to crimes in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/202225-federal-funding-needed-for-rape-kit-reform#ixzz2xihvrRhA ;
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