What is the Rape Kit Backlog? | ENDTHEBACKLOG

What is the Rape Kit Backlog? | ENDTHEBACKLOG

Every 92 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.

With the crime of sexual assault, the victim’s body is a part of the crime scene. When the victim reports the assault to the police, at a hospital, or at a rape crisis center, the victim can choose to have a doctor or nurse photograph, swab and conduct an invasive and exhaustive examination of the victim’s entire body for DNA evidence left behind by the attacker—a process that takes four to six hours to complete. That evidence is collected and preserved in a sexual assault evidence kit, commonly referred to as a rape kit.

When tested, DNA evidence contained by rape kits can be an incredibly powerful tool to solve and prevent crime. It can identify an unknown assailant and confirm the presence of a known suspect. It can affirm the survivor’s account of the attack and discredit the suspect. It can connect the suspect to other crime scenes and identify serial offenders. It can exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

To accomplish these things, however, rape kits must be tested.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police department and crime lab storage facilities across the country in what is known as the rape kit backlog. Each kit represents a lost opportunity to bring healing and justice to a survivor of sexual violence and safety to a community.

via endthebacklog. What is the Rape Kit Backlog? | ENDTHEBACKLOG