Tackling backlog of rape kits in Georgia

Georgia News

Thousands of sexual assault victims may soon receive some closure as thousands of Georgia backlogs are cleared.

In 2016, the spotlight was shined on the state’s heartbreaking number of rate kits collecting dust, preventing countless assault cases from being solved.

Georgia’s Democratic Rep. Scott Holcomb set out to change that with a bill to address the backlog.

Three years later and the results are becoming apparent: $1.6 million in funding, more than 3,000 kits cleared, 321 Codis matches and two serial rapists behind bars.

Law enforcement officials say DNA is perhaps the most valuable tool accessible to them today. And with the roughly 250 new rape kits Georgia receives each month, it’s a tool they are using diligently.

“The victim wants to continue their life and doesn’t want to relive this 20 years later,” said Vernon Keenan, former Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “This is why it’s so important why we never get into a situation again where we have rape kits warehoused.”

Holcomb built plans to address that in his bill.

Now, when hospitals or care providers take the kit, police are required to pick it up within 72 hours.

Our Atlanta Bureau is working on an in-depth look at how district attorneys are taking these cases to court — and how the victims are impacted. Stay tuned for more.

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