NOTHING IS a more powerful symbol of the failure of the criminal justice system to take sexual assault seriously than the tens of thousands of rape kits that languish — untested — in police departments and crime labs across the country. So when authorities undertake to eliminate the existing backlog and prevent future ones, it is a sign of a new approach that prioritizes getting justice for victims and holding offenders accountable. That is what is happening in Virginia, and it should be applauded.
NEW YORK – The Joyful Heart Foundation announced on Wednesday that Texas has become the first state in the nation to implement comprehensive rape kit reform. With the passage of H.B. 281, which requires the Department of Public Safety to establish a comprehensive statewide tracking system to monitor rape kits from collection to analysis, Texas has now enacted all six pillars of reform recommended by Joyful Heart and leaders in this field.
PORTLAND, ORE. Court records state Portland police didn’t pursue or submit evidence for a sexual assault case until five years after the assault was reported, despite police having the name of a suspect and a sexual assault kit.
GREEN BAY – An email that appeared in a detective’s mailbox last week brought good news for the city’s sexual-assault victims — and the police who work on their behalf.
The missive brought news Green Bay police had been awaiting for weeks: They could finally send more than 200 rape-evidence kits to a Madison laboratory for testing.
The Garda have been told that full DNA tests of crime scenes will not be carried out in the case of “volume crimes”, such as burglary or car theft, due to limited resources.
Ireland’s first DNA database was established a year ago and has been widely praised for linking crimes to offenders on more than 600 occasions, including in 350 burglaries. The database now contains some 10,000 profiles from suspects, convicted criminals and sex offenders – a figure that is increasing by about 1,000 every month.
DNA testing in 431 cases of collected but previously untested biological evidence recovered in Virginia rape cases has resulted in 44 DNA database “hits.”
It was one of those ugly, unsolved crimes that seem to haunt many neighborhoods in New York City: In February 1993, a man with a knife abducted an 11-year-old girl in an apartment building hallway in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan, forced her to the roof and sexually assaulted her.
The girl was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where nurses gathered physical evidence from her body, but no one was ever arrested. The DNA of her attacker was not even tested until 2002, when the city undertook a project to clear a backlog of rape-evidence kits.
If you were to watch almost any episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” it’s likely that some form of sexual assault would take place, the victim would be given a rape kit at the hospital, and the dedicated detectives investigating would send the kit off to be tested for DNA evidence.
But what happens during the course of an hourlong procedural rarely aligns with reality, something “SVU” star Mariska Hargitay knows all too well. The actress, who has played Lieutenant Olivia Benson on the NBC series for 18 seasons, is a producer on “I Am Evidence,” an eye-opening new HBO documentary which premiered last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The doc highlights the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that sit in evidence rooms in police departments across the country.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – Processing of Family Reference Samples have previously been performed by the sections of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Department of Defense DNA Registry but has been moved to a section specifically devoted to that mission.
In October 2016, the Family Reference Sample-Laboratory Automation group was established with the primary mission of processing FRSs for the past accounting community, as well as current day operations and internal reference samples needed.
Detroit — A second backlog of more than 500 untested Detroit rape kits languished in storage for years after more than 11,000 other unprocessed evidence packages were discovered in a warehouse in 2009, prosecutors say.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a report last year stating there more than 13,000 rape kits that had not been submitted or processed in the state.
The estimated cost to process these kits would be between $9 million and $32 million.
Utah lawmakers have approved a new mandate to test all rape kits — but not all the funding needed to cover the additional work. And while robotics will speed up a key part of testing, a lack of staff may just mean a bottleneck at a different step in the process.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement took a look at the backlog throughout the state of rape kits in Florida. Their report from last year says it will take between $9 and 32 million to test old kits. It will take 3 to 9 years for the testing to happen.
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -GBI investigators in Savannah are taking us behind the scenes, showing the real reason thousands of rape kits in Georgia remain backlogged after lawmakers passed legislation requiring all kits be processed by the GBI.
While the state has made some progress overall since this legislation was passed, investigators haven’t made a dent in the number of cases in our area.
Since 2011, BYU nursing professor Julie Valentine has been researching the issues surrounding sexual assault kit processing and has been working with law enforcement agencies to improve the process.
Nearly one year ago, in a press conference at BYU, Valentine spoke to a room full of media about the results of her groundbreaking study, looking at the processing of 1,874 sexual assault kits, commonly called rape kits, in seven Utah counties between 2010 and 2013. This was the most comprehensive study ever conducted on sexual assault kits in the United States.