Los Angeles City Council Moves to Strengthen Rape Investigations
With the help of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women , two Los Angeles city council members have proposed a new bill that would create a local version of the federal Debbie Smith Act, which authorizes money to reduce the national backlog of untested DNA rape kits. Council members Jack Weiss and Jan Perry’s proposal to the Los Angeles City Council follows the recent revelation that thousands of untested rape-evidence kits were destroyed by the LAPD. In addition to endorsing the legislation of the Debbie Smith Act, Weiss and Perry’s bill increases local funding for DNA testing so that all rape evidence can be inventoried and tested, regardless of whether or not a suspect has been identified. Current LAPD protocol encourages detectives to only test evidence in cases where a suspect has been identified, leaving “critical evidence locked away in the LAPD’s freezers while rapists are free to assault more women,” said Weiss. Weiss and Perry’s bill will prohibit police from destroying DNA rape kits, and will mandate that all tested evidence be put through the California Cold Hit program, which matches DNA evidence with offender databases. According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, states that use cold hit programs on DNA rape evidence are finding up to a 48% “hit rate” on other unsolved rape cases.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times, 09/21/02; Jack Weiss Press Release, 09/20/02; Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 09/27/02
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .