Criminal Justice

District attorney says testing rape kits is 'our moral imperative'

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In less than four years, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s national rape kit testing program has led to 186 new arrests and 64 new convictions, including 47 felony sexual assault convictions.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. also announced that more than 55,000 rape kits have been tested in 32 jurisdictions across 20 states as part of the $38 million initiative. A March report from his office provides additional information. ABC News also has coverage.

More than 18,000 newly developed DNA profiles were uploaded into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which will help create a comprehensive databank that can assist investigations and help identify serial offenders. The report also states that rape kit backlogs have been eliminated or nearly eliminated in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio and Oregon since the program began in September 2015.

“Testing every rape kit is our best practice and our moral imperative — both to ensure survivors receive the support and action they deserve and to ensure that these backlogs never happen again,” Vance said in a press release. “With our $38 million investment, we have begun to rectify what has been a tragic failure of government and law enforcement at all levels — a decadeslong, systematic denial of equal rights for women in the justice system.”

Vance called on other states to mandate the timely testing of rape kits and eliminate statutes of limitation for felony sexual assault.

See also: “DOJ to give financial boost to FBI’s violent crime database” “Sexually assaulted woman files civil rights action against city of Houston over rape kit backlog”

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