Attorney General wants to eliminate backlog of untested rape kits

Published: Jun. 8, 2017 at 4:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced he is taking more steps forward in his efforts to eliminate Virginia’s backlog of untested rape kits.

Today he added over 1,200 more untested physical evidence recovery kits (PERKs) collected between 2014 and 2016. This addition brings his $3.4 million project to over 3,200 kits.

"I hope survivors see that we are turning the page from an old approach that failed to meet our public safety goals or our obligations to survivors, to one that makes communities safer and helps survivors on a path to healing and justice," said Attorney General Herring. "The progress we've made so far, including the identification of these remaining kits, shows that we're keeping up the momentum on this project. I'm not going to stop until every single kit gets tested, survivors know the result, and each case gets a fresh look. It's what survivors deserve, and it's what justice and public safety require."

The first phase of the PERK testing project-for kits collected pre-2014-remains ongoing, with more than 1,000 kits gone for testing. Approximately 450 results have been returned to the state resulting in at least 44 matches to known profiles in CODIS, the national DNA database.

The first phase is supported by a $1.4 million grant from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's $38 million initiative to test 56,000 PERKs in more than 20 states.

This second phase of testing-for kits collected between 2014 and 2016-is supported by a $2 million federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant secured in January 2016. Testing will begin after a laboratory contract has been finalized.