When it comes to seeking justice for victims of sexual assault, one of the keys to successful prosecution is DNA evidence. Doctors and nurses use a rape kit, a box the size of a first aid kit, to collect samples from the victim’s mouth, genitals, anus and clothing, an invasive process that can take hours. When the rape kits go untested, a criminal case can fall flat, leaving women open to attack from the same offender.
Yet the End the Backlog Initiative found that the backlog of untested rape kits has reached more than 9,000 in California alone. Frustrated by the slow response to address the backlog, advocacy groups have resorted to advocating for a host of new state bills, among them AB280, which would make the cause of rape kit testing one of the 20 taxpayers can support by checking off a box on their state tax return.
While the goal to raise awareness and money around rape kit testing is admirable, why are forensic services not worthy of adequate and reliable funding? Why must justice rely on charity?
Source: San Francisco Chronicle