More Funding Proposed for Rape-Kit Testing Reform
Monday, February 15, 2016
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – President Barack Obama has included an additional $41 million in funding for rape kit testing reform in his 2017 budget.
If it survives the contentious federal budgeting process, the money could help process the more than 9,000 untested rape kits at Tennessee law enforcement agencies, some as many as 30 years old.
Ilse Knecht is a senior adviser for policy and advocacy with the Joyful Hearts Foundation, a group sponsoring an End the Backlog initiative. She says the money would go a long way toward increased justice and community safety.
"Every day, we see stories of rape kits connecting to a known offender and it's really a testament to how this program can work and is working across the country and this money is so important to communities, like Memphis," she states.
Other federal funding has already been granted to some cities, including Memphis, where recent testing resulted in the arrest of a man in a second rape case.
Memphis still has an estimated backlog of 7,000 untested rape kits. Last year, Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation creating protocol for how the kits are collected, with some going to police and others to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for forensic analysis.
Knecht says some of the funding would support programs to help victims who discover their attacker has been caught as a result of rape kit testing.
"Every rape kit represents a sexual assault survivor, and each one of those survivors deserves to be supported through the process of re-engaging with the system, so that we're not doing more harm when we ask them to come back into the justice system, so many years later," she stresses.
Knecht says the End the Backlog initiative is using public records requests to pinpoint the number of untested rape kits at the Tennessee Crime Lab.
It's also working to identify the same information in Nashville, where research so far indicates 4,500 kits, some dating back to 1995, were sent to the state lab for processing in August 2014.
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …