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

April-01-09

Report Released on Los Angeles Rape Kit Backlog

A Human Rights Watch report released yesterday found that there are at least 12,669 untested rape kits in Los Angeles County, the largest known backlog of its kind in the US. A September 2008 LA city controller's audit showed a backlog of approximately 7,000 kits.

The report (see PDF) is based on interviews with rape victims, rape treatment providers, police officers, public officials, and criminalists as well as data from the LA Police and Sheriff’s Departments and the 47 independent police departments in LA County. The report found that of the 12,669 kit backlog, 499 kits are past the statute of limitations in California rape law and at least 1,218 are from unsolved cases where the attacker was a stranger. It is estimated that thousands more kits have been destroyed in LA County untested. According to interviews with rape treatment providers, the report found that many victims assumed that DNA did not match in the database or that no evidence was found when they did not hear the results of their rape kit.

Sarah Tofte, the report's author, said in a press release "women who are raped have a right to expect police to do all they can to thoroughly investigate their case, but in LA they often feel betrayed to learn that their rape kits are never even tested….And in some cases, failure to test means that a rapist who could have been arrested will remain free."

A LA rape treatment provider told Human Rights Watch that "We go through the motions of collecting the kit, and then it doesn't get tested. Either we stop collecting rape kits, or we test every rape kit. It's now standard procedure to encourage every rape victim to report the crime and get a rape kit collected. If we think it's unconscionable to discourage a rape victim from reporting and getting a rape kit collected, then it’s unconscionable to have a rape kit backlog."

Media Resources: Human Rights Watch Report 3/31/09; Human Rights Watch Press Release 3/31/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/22/08


© 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

7/6/2015 US Women's Soccer World Cup Win Comes Despite Huge Inequalities - The United States' women's soccer team defeated Japan this weekend in an impressive and fast-paced game at 5-2, with a hat trick (3 goals in one game) by Carli Lloyd in the first twenty minutes of the game. . . .
 
7/6/2015 Affirmative Consent Education May Soon Be the Norm for California High School Students - California legislation aimed at preventing sexual assault and educating high school students on healthy relationships is poised to become law, as it passed the California Assembly Education Committee last week. Senate Bill 695 passed through the Education Committee unanimously with a bipartisan vote of 6-0. . . .
 
7/2/2015 President Obama Will Expand Overtime Pay to Millions of Americans - President Obama is proposing a plan this week to broaden overtime pay that is expected to affect millions of Americans in the working class, especially women. In an Op-Ed written for and published by the Huffington Post, President Obama summarized what he called a successful week for Americans. . . .