According to CBS2, the City of Los Angeles has a mind-boggling backlog of 7038 rape kits that have not been processed.
“The California Sexual Assault Victims’ DNA Bill of Rights requires law enforcement agencies to inform victims if the evidence in their rape kits is
not processed within two years of the crime. The audit found that 5,694 of the unopened kits are more than two years old, and none of those victims have been notified (as required by California law).
Of the backlogged cases, 217 have exceeded the 10-year statute of
In other words, 217 victims have been completely denied justice and in all likelihood many more because the chances of successful prosecution goes down the more time that is allowed to elapse.
Human Rights Watch offers the following plan for resolving the backlog:
- Making testing of rape kits a priority, by dedicating future federal funds to reducing the backlog. Immediate action should be taken to test kits in cases in which the statute of limitations is soon to expire and those that are nearing the two-year threshold.
- Developing a three-year strategic plan to ensure prompt testing of every rape kit collected in the future. The plan should provide sufficient oversight to ensure effective use of grant funds.
- Establishing a system to monitor closely rape kit cases approaching the two-year threshold and 10-year statute of limitations, and to ensure that they are promptly tested.
- Developing a victim notification system to comply with the law and ensure that rape victims are informed if their kits remain untested after two years.
Here’s hoping the Los Angeles City Council signs off on these measures immediately.