Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rape kits' DNA goes untested while dog poop DNA finds a market

I don't deny that unwanted dog poop is a problem - - we have picked up more than our share left behind on our city corner lot by anti-social pet owners - - but I will say that a culture that can afford DNA testing of wrongly-deposited pet poop has got its priorities seriously out of balance if at the same time thousands and thousands of rape kits containing potential DNA evidence remain untested in crime labs nationwide.
In the past, the federal government estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police and crime storage facilities across the country in what is known as the rape kit backlog. Each kit represents a lost opportunity to bring healing and justice to a survivor of sexual violence.  
We cannot be sure of the total number of untested kits nationwide because most jurisdictions do not have systems for tracking or counting rape kits. Only three states—IllinoisTexas and Colorado—require law enforcement agencies to count, track and test their untested kits. There is no federal law mandating a nationwide movement toward tracking and testing rape kits, despite efforts by some members of Congress to pass such legislation.
Jurisdictions often cite lack of resources and personnel as the largest barrier to processing more rape kits. Another, less frequently acknowledged, cause of the backlog is unwillingness among many law enforcement agencies to prioritize and dedicate sufficient resources to sexual assault cases. Members of law enforcement frequently disbelieve or even blame victims of sexual assault. Despite data proving otherwise, many agencies also maintain the philosophy that testing a rape kit is only useful when a stranger committed the assault. Some do not fully understand the value of rape kit testing
Over the years, however, we have begun to see progress. Increasingly, states and local jurisdictions are beginning to recognize the value of testing rape kits. They are starting to count, track and test the untested kits in their facilities, and they’re seeing powerful results. For example, in New York City, where there had been a backlog of 17,000 untested rape kits before it was eliminated in 2003, city and law enforcement officials enacted a policy and developed a system to test every rape kit. The city’s arrest rate for rape has since jumped from 40% to 70%.
- See more at:
Props to "Law and Order" star Mariska Hargitay for using her celebrity to publicize the issue and help fund more testing nationally.

In Wisconsin, a recent news story pegged the number of untested kits at more than 6,000. 

1 comment:

Tommy Lardner said...

Great post -- after reading your most recent posts today (I'm a first-time visitor), I can appreciate that you know dog poop very well. And you have not problem throwing it around here.