In June 2015, Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that requires all law enforcement agencies to submit an annual report on the number of sexual assaults occurring each year, including figures on rape kits collected and received. The report will be due on February 15th each year to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice, and by March 1st of each year, the Commission will present the findings to the Senate Committee Chairman and the House Judiciary Committee Chairman.
In May 2014, a law that requires all law enforcement agencies to conduct an inventory of the untested rape kits in their custody and report the total to the director of the state police crime lab by January 1, 2015 was enacted. The crime lab, in turn, will report to the legislature regarding the statewide findings of the inventory, including the name and contact information for each non-compliant agency, by March 1, 2015.
In March 2015, the Louisiana State Crime Lab reported that the state had a backlog of 1,333 untested rape kits, with roughly one third having sat untested for at least five years. Of the 421 law enforcement agencies in Louisiana, 128 did not send any data regarding their backlog of untested kits.
While these laws have allowed us to have a more accurate picture of the backlog in Louisiana, the legislature must take additional steps to provide survivors with greater access to justice, including requiring the testing of all rape kits booked into evidence. Take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.
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In 2010, it was discovered that the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) had a backlog of 830 untested rape kits, some dating back to the '80s and '90s. All of the kits were subsequently tested, along with 178 kits collected from 2010.
In December 2014, 429 untested rape kits were disclosed in a New Orleans City Council hearing that examined shortcomings in NOPD's handling of rapes and child abuse cases.
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