On March 17, The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory released the first of annual audit reports required under a law enacted in 2015 legislation. The audit found 2,200 untested rape kits statewide so far (not all agencies in the state have complied with the law). The Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault launched a new toll-free number for survivors to call to get information about the status of the rape kit.
In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the Arkansas State Crime Lab was awarded $97,121 in funding to and test 1,513 rape kits.
While the audit will allow us to have a more accurate picture of the backlog in Arkansas, 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 2014, Arkansas State Crime Lab Executive Director Kermit Channell stated that the state has only a "current backlog," meaning only 20 kits have yet to be assigned to an analyst. The lab is aiming to lower its turnaround time to around 30 days to analyze a rape kit. Channell also added, "In 2005, we were woefully under budget, we had a tremendous backlog...some 20,000 cases...but that's not true today and that's because we have additional funding sources."
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