Inventory untested rape kits?
Test backlogged rape kits?
Test newly collected rape kits?
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
Track rape kits?
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Missouri is unknown. Missouri law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits.
In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested rape kits in Kansas City and St. Louis to light. Through this request, we uncovered a backlog of 1,324 untested kits in Kansas City, and learned that the St. Louis Police Department Crime Laboratory screened or otherwise processed nearly all rape kits between 2004 and 2014.
In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office awarded the Kansas City Missouri Board of Police Commissioners $337,197 to test 490 rape kits.
In November 2017, following media reports, Attorney General Josh Hawley announced a thorough inventory of unprocessed rape kits statewide. In May 2018, the inventory report revealed that 4,889 rape kits in Missouri have not been submitted for DNA testing.
In 2018, Missouri legislators enacted a law requiring the state to develop procedures for gathering, transmitting, and storing rape kits. The procedures must require law enforcement to take possession of the kit within 14 days of notification and to submit the kits to a lab within 14 days of taking possession. Law enforcement will secure a kit for a period of 30 years if the offense has not been adjudicated. Also under this law, the Office of the Attorney General will establish protocols to implement a rape kit tracking system that allows survivors access to monitor the current status of their kit.
Also in 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded the Missouri Office of the Attorney General $2,871,423 million to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.
In 2019, Missouri legislators introduced a bill that would grant victims the right to have their kit preserved for the duration of the maximum applicable statute of limitations. Before intended destruction of a kit, survivors would have the right to: be notified, upon request, no later than 60 days before the date of intended destruction; be granted further preservation of the kit; be informed of any testing results; and be informed of any policies regarding the collection and preservation of rape kits.
Additionally in 2019, the Attorney General's office committed to making the elimination of the rape kit backlog a top priority for the office. Read our letter of support to Office of the Attorney General.
In 2019, legislators introduced rape kit reform bills. Learn more here.
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