Editorial: Reducing the rape kit backlog

Reducing the rape kit backlog

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Last March, we came to you to speak about a new state law went into effect the previous July.

It required that DNA evidence collected from sexual assault victims get into the hands of forensic analysts faster.

We are sad to report that this issue is still a problem.

It is also a national problem. The star of Law & Order, Mariska Hargitay, has made it her mission to get action for people who have been assaulted but don't know if their rape kits have been processed.

It's a huge job, and it doesn't come cheap.

The state of Georgia is building a new lab outside Savannah to help alleviate this backlog, but the lab itself got backlogged.

By May of 2019, this new lab is expected to finally get up and running, so victims can at least get in line for justice.

The state has made some progress. Reporting last week the backlog is down by two thirds from nearly 10,000 untested rape kits in 2016 to less than 2,500 today.

But how many of those have led to arrests and convictions in these victims' cases? Obviously, there's more work to be done

More money should be allocated to hire more scientists to get to work now on this backlog of cases.

Victims need to know that the law is on the trail of their attacker.

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