(NewsBreakDaily.org) – Virginia had a backlog of rape kits — many of them had been sitting untested for years. Now, some victims are finally seeing justice.
On Wednesday, Mark Herring, Virginia’s Attorney General, said the state had completed a 5-year project to get more than 2,600 kits tested. Hopefully, this brings some relief to survivors.
I've been waiting a long time to say this:
Virginia's backlog of untested rape kits has been completely eliminated, and it is NEVER coming back. pic.twitter.com/6HrgHL0AE6
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) July 9, 2020
The kits are also known as physical evidence recovery kits (PERKS). Many of them have been sitting untested in police stations all over the country — the main problem is the lack of funds. There are also very long wait times in the testing labs, but it’s critical for the investigations of rape cases that these PERKS are tested.
Virginia wasn’t the only state to have an abundance of untested rape kits, it’s a problem all over the US. According to End the Backlog, there are hundreds of thousands of untested kits. Joining Virginia, six other states have recently resolved theirs.
The $3.4 million project resulted in 851 new DNA profiles being added to the nation’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). On top of that, more than 350 cases were sent to the police for further investigation. One of the Virginia kits has already led to an arrest in connection to a 2012 rape case. More arrests are expected.
Justice has Been a Long Time Coming
Herring said this project has taken a lot of work and is a long time coming. It means wrongs have been righted, and that should give some comfort to victims.
Many survivors have been denied a sense of security and closure because of the backlogs. Virginians can now work on healing after such traumatic experiences.
They state has not only tested all of their accumulated PERKS, but they’ve also made several moves to ensure the kits are analyzed faster in the future, so they never end up with another backlog. They created a tracking system to help law enforcement and the labs to see the status of each case in real-time.
As of July 1, Herring says all of the agencies working with the kits are required to update the status of the PERKS. He believes these moves will increase the likelihood of victims reporting violence and getting the justice they deserve.
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