New Bill Aims to Cut Down on Rape Kit Backlog
CHARLOTTE, NC – A new bill introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly aims to free up money to get rape kits tested.
According to state numbers, there is a backlog of 15,000 untested rape kits stacked up in police departments across North Carolina.
“That’s what the Survivor Act is all about,” said Attorney General Josh Stein, “putting survivors first and holding rapists accountable.”
According to a March 2018 report from the State Department of Justice, 70 rapt kits have gone untested in Iredell County. 130 in Union County. 120 in Gaston County. 69 in Rowan County. And 64 in Cabarrus County.
In Mecklenburg County, new numbers from CMPD show the backlog has decreased from 499 untested kits back in March, to 154 today.
But the number of new cases continues to rise.
In the last two and a half years, CMPD has received nearly 750 rape kits.
The new bill also addresses how future rape kits will be handled. Police must send them to a lab within 45 days of being received and follow up on a positive hit within 15 days.
The Robeson County Sheriffs Department announced in December that it’s deputies failed to follow up on a positive ID a year prior to the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar.
“It’s really someone taking ultimate control away from someone else,” said Cori Goldstein with Safe Alliance.
Her organization helps victims of sexual assault. Goldstein says she’s encouraged by the introduced legislation.
“I think any time we can hold offenders accountable and get perpetrators off the street is huge,” said Goldstein.