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.
“Testing rape kits should be an absolute priority for the United States of America,” Vice President Biden said, referring to the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. “If we’re able to test these rape kits, more crimes would be solved, more rapes would be avoided.”
“We applaud this budget as the first step in ensuring that survivors who courageously report these heinous crimes can finally obtain justice,” said Gaylynn Burroughs, Director of Policy and Research at the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Houston, Texas is testament to the progress that can be achieved when cities have access to the funds for processing rape kits. Houston was one of the first of the major cities nation-wide to clear their backlog of over 6,000 untested rape kits – some of which were more than thirty years old. As of last month, the evidence from these test kits has led to 850 DNA matches, 29 filed cases, and 6 convictions. The $41 million budget is designed to both clear and process the backlog of rape kits, but also to create a more efficient process for testing, so as to avoid more backlogs in the future.
Media Resources: WhiteHouse.gov 3/16/15; Chicago Tribune 3/16/15; Feminist Newswire 2/27/15