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A saliva sample taken from a rape kit in a crime lab. (Ann Johansson/The New York Times)


More than 13,000 rape kits have gone untested in Florida

By WITW Staff on January 5, 2016

On Monday, Florida’s department of law enforcement reported that more than 13,000 rape kits around the state have gone untested, a backlog that could take years to clear. Rape kits, which consist of forensic evidence collected from alleged rape victims by trained medical professionals, are invaluable in securing convictions of rapists and identifying serial rapists. In 2013, Congress passed a law to increase spending on forensic analysis that must go towards testing rape kits, setting aside grants to help police forces do so. But as of July, the Justice Department had not distributed any such grants and an audit noted the department might be unable to ensure police even spent the grants on rape kits.

After USA Today found evidence in July that more than 70,000 rape kits have gone untested nationally, federal officials promised in September to speed up testing. The Justice Department then distributed $41 million in grants to help police departments develop procedures to prevent rape kit backlogs, but the grants were directed at police forces who will spend less than half of the money on testing old rape kits. The Florida report estimates the cost of testing all the rape kits in their backlog could cost the state anywhere from $9 million to $32 million.

Read the full story at The Guardian.