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

7/30/2015 Boy Scouts of America Lifts Ban on Gay Troop Leaders - The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have voted to repeal its national ban on gay and lesbian adult staff and volunteers this week. "The resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation," a Boy Scouts of America statement read. Just 15 years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that the BSA had the right to discriminate against gay volunteers and staff in a 5-4 decision. . . .
 
7/29/2015 An Extreme Abortion Ban is Now Law in Wisconsin - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an extreme 20 week abortion ban into law last week. The law, which bans abortions performed past 20 weeks, has no exception whatsoever for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomalies. . . .
 
7/29/2015 Jen Welter Just Made NFL History - Jen Welter was hired as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals this week, becoming the first woman ever to be a National Football League coach. . . .