How a backlog of crucial evidence is denying justice for tens of thousands of rape victims
A terrible statistic: one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. But an even more shocking reality: A backlog in processing rape kits—crucial evidence in arresting violent predators—is delaying and sometimes denying justice for tens of thousands of American women.
NOW travels to Los Angeles County to investigate why it has the largest known rape kit backlog in the country—over 12,000 kits are sitting untested in police storage facilities. An internal audit found that more than 50 of these cases have exceeded the 10-year statute of limitations on rape.
"The evidence that we're talking about represents human lives," Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick tells NOW. "Those are lives stacked up on the shelves waiting for justice."
NOW talks with courageous rape survivors and law enforcement experts for insight and answers in this disturbing but important report. Are these women being victimized twice?
Related Links and Resources
RAINN: What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?, advice from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network on what to do immediately after an attack.
NOW: In Your State: Rape Counseling Resources
Human Rights Watch: Testing Justice, a report on the rape kit backlog in Los Angeles city and county.
An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection, offers extensive information, legal advice, and FAQ's on domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment.
Feminist.com: Anti-violence Resources, offers support for women, resource contact information, and opportunities for activism in anti-violence campaigns.
Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center, research, statistics, and information from U.S. Department of Justice.
Peace Over Violence is an organization that has made "tremendous strides in working to end violence" and has "extensive prevention programs that educate young people about healthy relationships," according to spokeswoman Calista Flockhart.
Propublica: As Rape Victims Wait, Money for DNA Testing Goes Unused
Witness Justice, provides support and advocacy for victims of trauma by helping victims find safety, counseling, and ways to gain legal rights.