Manhattan’s District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch joined forces to announce they will be investing close to $80 million on clearing the backlog of untested rape kits. While the Manhattan District Attorney’s office pledged $32 million to help 32 jurisdictions clear up their backlog, the Department of Justice announced an additional $41 million would be made available to help 20 jurisdictions — which combined should help to test some 70,000 sexual assault kits for forensic evidence. The reasons for the backlog are plenty, but many have cited a lack of accountability in law departments, as well as a lack of resources and funding and a culture of victim-blaming. Lynch announced that part of the funding would go into helping these jurisdictions define what has contributed to this backlog, including “evidence collection systems, storage methods, police practices, prosecutorial policies and laboratory procedures.” She added, “No victim’s suffering should be extended one minute longer because of procedural issues, ever.”
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