In April 2014, Virginia enacted legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to conduct and report an inventory of the untested kits in their custody to the Department of Forensic Science. The Department was to submit a report to the General Assembly summarizing the results of the statewide inventory on or before July 1, 2015.
In July 2015, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science released their findings from the legislatively mandated audit of "PERKs," or physical evidence recovery kits, reporting that the state has 2,369 untested rape kits. More than 99% of the state's law enforcement agencies responded to the audit by June 30th, with nearly two-thirds saying they had no untested kits in their custody.
While this law allows us to have a more accurate picture of the backlog in Virginia, 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 November 2013, an 8News investigation uncovered 75 rape kits sitting in the evidence room at the Richmond Police Department and 125 kits at the Chesterfield County Police Department. The Henrico County Police Division was unable to provide an inventory of untested kits in its custody.
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Statement Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and InvestigationsJune 18, 2015