Joe Biden Announces Plan To Fund Clearing The Rape Kit Backlog

Photo: Rex/REX USA
Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced at a press conference in New York City on Thursday, September 10, that nearly $80 million will be issued as grants to more than 40 police agencies in order to clear the backlog of 70,000 rape kits, U.S.A. Today reports.

The U. S. Department of Justice will also fund grants, approved last fall by Congress, to test 13,500 kits spread over 20 jurisdictions.

Vance is involved not only because the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is providing $32 million in funding, but also because New York City was the very first jurisdiction to clear its rape kit backlog, uncovering serial offenders and giving a sense of closure to tens of thousands of women. "We are going to help cities, counties, and states across the country, coast to coast, to do exactly the same," Vance said.

In his remarks, Biden talked of how rape kits that go untested are a further violation to women who are left feeling helpless and hopeless. "DNA technology is the guilty person's worst enemy,'' Biden said. "It reduces the total number of victims...But the second thing it does is it sets women free who've been victimized.

The kicker here is the source of the funding. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is supplying money from from settlements the district attorney’s office made with international banks that violated U.S. sanctions, Buzzfeed reports.

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