In an update to an earlier announcement in November 2016, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on January 3, 2017, that 12,000 of the backlogged sexual assault kits sent to the state for DNA testing have been successfully tested.
The Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative, SAK, begun in 2011 through efforts of DeWine and his office, has been working diligently to test the 13,931 backlogged sexual assault kits for DNA, then attempting to match that DNA to a person through the Combined Index DNA System, CODIS, in order to bring delayed justice to the survivors of sexual assault.
In November, DeWine was able to announce that 11,888 of the sexual assault kits – representing 85 percent of the backlog sent in for testing – had been tested, giving Ohio the lead in the nation in such testing.
Of the 12,000 sexual assault kits tested, 4,367 of them have resulted in DNA matches through CODIS, putting the success rate of such matching slightly above one-third of all the kits tested. Not every man who has ever been arrested for a crime has been tested for DNA, but even without a CODIS match, law enforcement is armed with the DNA testing results to match against suspects in the sexual assaults that took place.
Not all states treat sexual violence and sexual assault with the seriousness Ohio has shown:
In Ohio’s effort to bring justice to sexual violence survivors, SAK tested the backlogged kits through funds provided by the state, relieving the financial burden on local police departments whose budget constraints prevented them from testing the sexual assault kits, some of them more than a decade old. Funding was allocated by the state for the hiring of an additional 10 forensic scientists to test the old kits to prevent a new backlog from occurring with the nearly 12,000 recent sexual assault kits as part of the crime lab’s caseload since 2011.
Related Reading: Ohio County Indicts 500th Man in Backlogged Rape Kit Testing
The Dollars and Sense of Sexual Assault Kit Testing
Ohio Senate Bill 316, a law that became effective March 23, 2015, required all police departments to submit any backlogged rape kits within one year through SAK. That requirement resulted in 4,601 of the nearly 14,000 backlogged kits being submitted to the state’s forensic crime lab. An additional requirement of the law mandates that all newly-acquired sexual assault kits be sent to a lab for testing within 30 days of the determination that a crime has been committed.
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