Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits: The Backlog Problem

Content Warning: Sensitive topics are heavily discussed throughout this post, including those of sexual violence. 

When receiving care after a sexual assault, the victim/survivor can have a sexual assault evidence collection (SAEC) kit done, otherwise known as a rape kit. In addition to the barriers to access in getting a SEAC kit, it can be even more difficult to have a completed kit processed and used as evidence in the criminal justice system. The rape kit backlog comprises thousands of untested SAEC kits stored in police departments and crime labs across the United States.

I recently posted a Public Health Post article that outlines the two primary roadblocks that contribute to the rape kit backlog, including unsubmitted kits and untested kits. Unsubmitted kits occur when detectives and prosecutors fail to request DNA analysis, which results in kits never being sent to a crime lab and analyzed. Untested kits are a result of long processing queues at crime labs, a back-up that can last even years due to volume and outpaced resources. Fortunately, I discuss how the rape kit backlog can be reduced and even cleared, as already done in several states.

Read the full article here.

Research for this piece was supported by Arnold Ventures. 

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