Despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes, hundreds of thousands of rape kits, containing potentially crucial DNA evidence, are languishing untested in police evidence storage rooms and crime labs across the country. Behind each of these kits is a person—a sexual assault survivor—who is still waiting for justice.
DNA evidence contained in rape kits can:
- identify a known suspect
- affirm a survivor’s account of the attack
- identify serial offenders
- exonerate an innocent person
Currently, only eight states (Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas) have passed laws requiring the testing of all kits, both backlogged and newly collected. Most jurisdictions do not track rape kits, most states do not require testing, and very few prohibit the destruction of rape kit evidence. The national backlog of untested rape kits is an unconscionable failure of the criminal justice system to take rape seriously.