Yesterday, the White House announced funding in the FY 2015 Budget directed to eliminating the rape kit backlog and assisting in the prosecution of sexual assault cases. The Budget provides $35 million for a new grant program to inventory and test rape kits, develop “cold case” units to pursue new investigative leads, and support victims throughout the process.
Eliminating the rape kit backlog is an issue of national, state and local concern. Here in California, CALCASA has sponsored AB 1517 (Skinner), which proposes to reduce the backlog and prevent future backlogs by establishing time-frames for law enforcement agencies and crime labs to process, analyze and upload DNA evidence into the national database.Obama Quote - 03 06 14
This legislation is focused on providing justice to survivors of sexual assault who submit themselves to an invasive forensic exam just hours after they experience an assault. They do so knowing that DNA evidence is time sensitive and can also help prosecute their offender. There is a reasonable expectation that these kits be tested in a timely manner and it is a great injustice to survivors that some kits sit on the shelves of crime labs, untouched and uninvestigated.
CALCASA applauds the White House for prioritizing women’s issues and, specifically, providing necessary resources to eliminate the rape kit backlog.