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Justice Department Awards $37M to Address Backlog in Rape Kits

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to use $37 million to help state, local and tribal governments address a backlog of sexual assault evidence that is preventing the capture  of violent offenders.

The grants are intended to help law enforcement reduce the backlog of sexual assault kits to help track down rapists, the Los Alamos Daily Post reports

“There is no greater injustice to a victim of sexual assault than a failure on the part of the system to exhaust its investigative possibilities,” said Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These awards will supply badly needed resources and manpower to our nation’s law enforcement agencies and prosecutors helping investigators and analysts do the urgent work of closing out cases and bringing answers to survivors.”

The Post wrote:

Administered through the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, managed by the Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, 21 grant awards totaling more than $35 million were awarded to improve the processing of sexual assault kits and strengthen jurisdictions’ capacity to act on evidence resulting from kit processing. Those awards are available online at: https://www.bja.gov/funding/FY-2017-National-Sexual-Assault-Kit-Initiative-Funding-Awards.pdf 

Solving sex crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice requires a thorough understanding of the value of sexual assault evidence and a solid commitment to submitting sexual assault kits for testing. OJP’s resources help jurisdictions reduce their inventory of unsubmitted kits, bring offenders to justice, provide answers to victims and restore the safety of our communities.

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative provides competitive grants for teams committed to reforming how their jurisdictions deal with cases of sexual assault. SAKI helps jurisdictions address the issues that lead to delayed testing of kits by providing funds to inventory, test and track sexual assault kits, as well as collect and submit DNA from suspects to the FBI’sCombined DNA Index System and hire crime analysts. The grants also support the investigation and prosecution of resulting cases and support the victims of sexual assault.

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