The Department of Justice announced last month that it would allocate $38 million to state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to address the extensive backlog of over 400,000 untested rape kits across the country.
Today, President Obama signed into law the Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Act, establishing a set of guidelines for the federal government handles forensic evidence gathered after a person reports a sexual assault, otherwise known as a rape kit.
On Tuesday Congress unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which ensures that victims do not bear the financial cost of their own rape kits and that they will be appropriately informed of that kit’s results and legal status.
Joe Biden announces million dollar plan to clear the massive national rape kit backlog.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Mikulski (D-MD) spoke yesterday at a Maryland State Police Laboratory to declare their support for a $41 million budget proposal to combat the national backlog of rape kits.
In just one week, those tests have led to hundreds of leads
The testing has also produced over 750 DNA matches to an FBI database. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office has so far issued warrants for 23 alleged rapists, convicted 14 of them, and three are awaiting trial.
The Senate on Thursday voted to renew the Debbie Smith Act, aimed at cutting the backlog of untested rape kits. The bill, already passed in the House, now heads to President Obama to become law.
The Senate today is expected to approve $41 million in funding to process hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country.
DC’s budget is under federal control, so if the federal government’s shutdown continues much longer, some of the city’s necessary programs–including those intended to help rape victims–may be temporarily discontinued due to lack of funding.