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Franken offers bill on untested rape kits


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., introduced the Justice for Survivors Sexual Assault Act this week, which aims to reduce the national backlog of untested rape kits.

“These backlogs have serious consequences for law enforcement and public safety,” said Franken in a statement. “We just learned of a case where a rapist struck both a pregnant woman and a minor while the rape kit for one of his earlier victims sat unprocessed at a crime lab. It takes about a week to process a DNA evidence sample and there is no reason that every rape kit completed should not be tested in a timely manner.” 

According to Franken, there are currently over 180,000 untested rape kits in police storage around the country.

The legislation requires jurisdictions applying for federal funds to implement plans to cut rape kit backlogs by half in a two-year period and provides financial incentives for jurisdictions that do reduce backlogs.

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The bill will also address the denial of free rape kits and the shortage of trained health professionals who are capable of administering rape kit exams.