Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-18-14

Senate Set to Approve Rape Kit Backlog Funds

The Senate today is expected to approve $41 million in funding to process hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country.

The measure is part of the $51.2 billion Justice Department budget for 2015.The House passed the budget in May leaving the funds in tact.The bill has been up for consideration in the Senate since June 12, with a final vote expected today.

"Outrageous that 10s of thousands untested sex assault kits sitting in crime labs or police lockers, "Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) tweetedon Tuesday. "Victims must know they're not forgotten."

Critics of the funding question how the Justice Department is spending the money they already have. According to the Washington Post, the DOJ's main source of rape kit analysis fundingcomes from the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, a $1.5 billion federal program authorized by Congress in 2004 to "assess the extent of the backlog in DNA analysis of rape kit samples," but last summer, the Government Accountability Office found that a little more than half of those funds were appropriated from 2008 to 2012without any explicit description of how the money was spent. Last year, Congress required that 75 percent of Debbie Smith funding be devoted to DNA testing and rape kit auditing.

"Each box holds within it vital evidence that is crucial to the safety of women everywhere," Debbie Smith herself said to Congress in 2009 during a hearing on the rape kit backlog. "Can you imagine going through an exam like what goes on in one of those things for nothing? To know that you were just traumatized again, for it to sit on a shelf, it's not fair."

According to WXYZ in Detroit, authorities found 11,000 unprocessed rape kits in an abandoned Detroit Police storage facility in 2009. Authorities were able to identify over 100 serial rapists and ten convicted rapists after the first 1,600 were examined. Nationally, officials estimate there may be 400,000 unprocessed sex assault kits. In 2011, the Feminist Majority Foundation andMs.magazine launched the "No More Excuses" campaign to reduce the rape kit backlog.

Media Resources: OpenCongress.org, 6/18/14; Twitter, 6/17/14; Washington Post, 6/16/14; Government Printing Office, 6/18/14; Government Accountability Office, 7/31/13; Feminist News Wire, 12/16/09; WXYZ Detroit, 3/10/14; Feminist Majority Foundation, 2011


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/29/2014 Terry O'Neill Was One of Hundreds Arrested Calling for Immigration Reform at White House Rally - Thursday, nearly 300 people were arrested in front of the White House during a rally calling on President Barack Obama to halt mass deportations. . . .
 
8/29/2014 BREAKING: Fifth Circuit Blocks Texas TRAP Law Provision! - WASHINGTON - The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds U.S. . . .
 
8/29/2014 Domestic Violence Victims May Now Qualify For Asylum in the US - A recent case has opened the door for victims of domestic violence abroad to qualify for asylum in the United States. The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals ruled for the first time on Tuesday that a victim of domestic violence fit a specific criterion for asylum: persecution for membership in a particular social group. . . .