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Tara Ballesteros
Director for Public Affairs
202.467.8743 (office)
tballesteros@ncvc.org

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Sam Webster
Technology and Policy Support Officer
202.467.8751
swebster@ncvc.org

 

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National Victim Advocates Applaud Passage of Important Sexual Assault Evidence Bill in Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 18, 2014
Contact:

Tara Ballesteros  tballesteros@ncvc.org – 202-467-8743
Natasha Alexenko (NJP) – 631-279-6842

Rape Kit Action Project supported bill’s progression

Washington, DC -- National victim advocacy groups belonging to the Rape Kit Action Project (RKAP) applaud today’s passage of Ohio Senate Bill 316, a bill that will provide justice for countless victims of sexual assault and create safer communities. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Capri Cafaro, sets guidelines for the submission and testing of forensic rape evidence. Specifically, Senate Bill 316 requires investigating agencies to submit sexual assault evidence kits (rape kits) for DNA analysis within 30 days after receipt and a determination that a crime may have been committed. Law enforcement must review all records and reports related to old sexual assault crimes and submit any evidence from cases in which a crime may have been committed. The bill also requires forensic labs to submit the results into a DNA database as soon as possible. 

The issues this law seeks to address are part of a nationwide problem. Ohio now joins a growing list of states mandating audits and testing of sexual assault evidence. California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas all have passed similar laws, and RKAP is working closely with additional lawmakers across the country on similar measures.

In those communities that have prioritized the processing of previously untested kits, the impact is apparent. Numerous rapes and murders have been solved, bringing answers to victims and taking dangerous serial criminals off the streets.  So far, under the Ohio Attorney General’s initiative, Cleveland Division of Police have sent more than 4400 kits that date back to 1993. This work has solved hundreds of rape and murder cases. In fact, Cleveland has identified 166 serial rapists – including one who, in his criminal career, killed a law enforcement officer.  And victims of these crimes – many who have waited decades – are getting long-deserved answers and a chance at justice.

RKAP member organizations (Natasha’s Justice Project, National Center for Victims of Crime, and Rape Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) believe that the best interests of victims and public safety are served by comprehensive statewide policies to account for and support forensic analysis on sexual assault evidence kits. 

For more information on RKAP, go to www.everykitcounts.org.

The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.