Congressional Hearing Held on Rape Kit Backlog
Millions of federal dollars and years of prevention efforts are under scrutiny this week as a congressional hearing is underway to address the massive misuse and failure of many major U.S. cities to address the backlog of rape kits. Since 2004, cities such as Los Angeles and Detroit have received over 20 millions dollars and yet have hundreds of thousands of rape kits sitting in storage. These rape kits and the funds secured through the Debbie Smith Act of 2004 are vital to aid in rape prevention and specifically the health/legal support of rape victims.
A rape kit is absolutely vital to victims and their families in catching or convicting their attacker. Without DNA evidence, a rape trial(if the victim is so lucky to get their attacker identified and into a court room) becomes a war of words; he said, she said. What is more commonplace however is the victim's case is dead once she/he leaves the hospital or police station. It has been reported that across the country rape victim's rape kits along with their initial complaint, are often not dealt with in accordance to the law, as officers and medical professionals are deciding the validity of her/his complaint on the spot.