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Until recently, police in Columbus, Ohio couldn’t differentiate between rape kits and shopping carts
A public records request with the Columbus Police Department revealed that until a year ago, the department tagged rape kits in evidence as “other,” a designation also used for shopping carts and cell phones.
For the last year, we’ve been requesting data surrounding the national backlog of untested sexual assault evidence. While we still don’t know the actual number- so far more than 225,000 rape kits have been found sitting on evidence collection shelves and in hospitals from coast to coast - we have a greater understanding of the many hurdles victims and law enforcement face. There are many reasons rape kits go untested, and the lack of forensic funding continues to exacerbate the problem.
From fudge to top-secret cupcakes, the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST database contains an abundance of once-classified recipes with often tenuous ties to the agency itself. An article from the May, 1976 issue of Texas Monthly is one such example, featuring then-CIA director George H.W. Bush’s guide to making the perfect hamburger.
Trump signs the SAFER Act of 2017, strengthening efforts to eliminate the nationwide rape kit backlog
Amid #metoo stories and Hollywood’s women coalescing around a fight against sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, there’s finally some good news: President Donald Trump has signed the SAFER (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting) Act of 2017. In doing so, Trump reauthorized the original SAFER Act of 2013, extending and strengthening efforts to eliminate the nationwide rape kit backlog.
After hearing stories of women having to travel long distances to receive the rape kit exams that are guaranteed to them under the Violence Against Women Act, we began to file the same request with the health departments in all 50 states asking for locations where sexual assault forensic examiners are available on staff or on-call. Like most of the other data surrounding sexual assault policies, what we’ve found so far varies widely, and there are large deserts - huge, mostly rural areas without easy access to a medical examiner
Latest Requests See all
|Emergency Contraception for Rape Victims (NJ 20||No Responsive Documents||Department of Health||New Jersey|
|Sex. Assault/Premier 1||Awaiting Response||Columbus Division of Police||Columbus, OH|
|Local level SAEC polices/data (Princeville, Hawaii)||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Kauai Police Department||Kauai County, HI|
|Local level SAEC polices/data (Saint Louis, Missouri)||Partially Completed||St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department||St. Louis, MO|
|SANE hospitals (Hawaii County Prosecutor's Office)||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Hawaii County Prosecutor's Office||Hawaii County, HI|