Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2009
Senator Franken has introduced a bill that would expedite the testing of backlogged rape kits around the U.S., by prioritizing federal DNA funding to these uns0lved rape cases. The legislation would also increase trained professionals who could test the kits and require states to report annually on how many kits remain untested. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch found that there were 12,500 untested rape kits in Los Angeles alone, suggesting that there are hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of untested kits around the United States. As the New York Times editorial board says:
This is a huge insult to rape victims, who submit to a lengthy and intrusive process to have the DNA evidence harvested from their bodies. It is also an inexcusable loss for law enforcement and justice. Testing of a rape kit can identify an assailant, corroborate the victim’s account of an assault, exonerate innocent defendants and help prevent a habitual offender from striking again. New York City’s practice of testing every rape kit has paid off in a 70 percent arrest rate for rape that is three times the national average.
Especially after just reading the results of studies showing that most women are raped by repeat rapists, I believe the impetus to prosecute these criminals should even stronger. So far, the bill has been presented to the Judiciary Committee, where it will have to be prioritized by Senator Leahy, the chairman, if it will be introduced on the Senate floor. To email Senator Leahy, go to his website and ask him to make the Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2009 into law.