Rape kit backlogs, or rape kits that go untested, are a key issue that keep many sexual assault survivors from finding the justice that they deserve. Now, a new law in North Carolina is aiming to put an exact number on how many untested rape kits remain in the state in order to actually get them tested and make it easier to solve their sexual assault cases.
"Once we know how many untested kits there are around the state and how many of them are testable, we will make a plan and seek the resources to get them tested," Attorney General Josh Stein told The Associated Press.
This week, the state budget announced that local law enforcement agencies would be required to take inventory of their tested and untested kits and report the findings to the State Crime Lab by January 1. The hope, as Stein said, is that once there is a count on just how many kits are untested, funding can be allocated to begin testing them and to end the backlog.
"You can't fix a problem until you know you have a problem," state representative Billy Richardson told the AP. "It is important that these victims have some resolution to their cases."
Unfortunately, laws for preserving rape kit evidence vary from state to state, meaning that some states can have absurdly long backlogs for DNA testing. Earlier this week, it was reported that nearly 850 rape kits in Austin, Texas were found to be infested with mold, indicating just how much work there still is to do when it comes to helping sexual assault survivors find justice.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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