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Thousands of rape kits go untested across the U.S.

By WITW Staff on July 20, 2015

An exclusive report by USA Today has revealed that tens of thousands of sexual assault evidence kits across the United States are never tested by police. In what the publication calls “the most detailed nationwide inventory of untested rape kits ever,” reporters found at least 70,000 neglected kits in an open-records campaign covering 1,000-plus police agencies and counting. As the count covers only a fraction of the nation’s 18,000 police departments, the finding suggests that the actual number of untested rape kits reaches into the hundreds of thousands. These kits are designed to collect forensic evidence from survivors of sexual assault, a painstaking and invasive process, in order to yield DNA evidence to identify suspects, bolster prosecutions and in some cases exonerate the wrongly accused. The way these kits are handled is drastically different from police agency to agency, or even officer to officer: some test every kit, some only 2 in every 10. There are a host of reasons for this – the roughly $1,000 cost to analyze each kit being one of them — but despite promises from politicians, and more than $1 billion in federal funding, the problem persists.

Read the full story at USA Today.