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sexual assault evidence kits

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Public hospitals in New York destroy an alarming number of rape kits

Public hospitals in New York destroy an alarming number of rape kits

When DNA evidence can be destroyed at will by hospital officials, the lack of a statute of limitations can mean almost nothing. Giving survivors only 30 days to decide whether to press charges is an unfairly small window of time to process the traumatic event.

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Alaska’s rape kit backlog is one of the largest in the country

Alaska’s rape kit backlog is one of the largest in the country

Recently released documents show that the backlog of untested rape kits in Alaska’s capitol city, Juneau, is staggering. Out of the 283 sexual assault evidence kits collected since 2000, 206 still remain untested, while the status of three remains “unknown” - disturbing news for a state with a rate of sexual violence nearly three times the national average.

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Five of the best - and five of the worst - sexual assault response policies across the country

Five of the best - and five of the worst - sexual assault response policies across the country

The care rape victims receive is entirely dependent on where the crime occurred. Good sexual assault response policies are comprised of a number of initiatives, including (but not limited to) specific officer training, a victim-centered approach, access to victim advocates, guidelines for submitting kits to labs, and victim notification. Based on what we’ve seen in our reporting so far, we’ve rounded up a list of the five best - and the five worst - sexual assault response policies across the country.

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Six years after earmarking funds, Dallas has only tested half of its rape kit backlog

Six years after earmarking funds, Dallas has only tested half of its rape kit backlog

Our request for data and policies regarding the collection, maintenance, and testing of backlogged rape kits in Dallas shows that, as of May 2017, more than 1,000 kits still have not been submitted to crime labs. Of those submitted, only 50% have been tested, and just 35% of those tested have been uploaded into CODIS.

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There are finally federal guidelines for testing rape kits

There are finally federal guidelines for testing rape kits

The SAFER Working Group combined authorities from local police departments, the FBI, state crime laboratories, government institutions, colleges, medical examiners, and nurses, which met for more than two years before penning the first federal guidelines for sexual assault evidence collection. This document is undeniably a step in the right direction, but will local law enforcement agencies and state and private laboratories implement these recommendations?

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