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Findings released on Pennsylvania rape kit backlog

The latest backlog was found to have decreased by more than 650 kits.

HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released its findings on the Pennsylvania rape kit backlog Wednesday.
 
The “backlog” refers to rape kits that have not been tested for a year after evidence of sexual violence was collected. The report noted that 90 percent of Pa. municipalities provided backlog reports in 2017.
 
The latest backlog was found to have decreased by more than 650 kits. This is attributed to increased laboratory staffing as well as collaborations between law enforcement, medical professionals and rape crisis systems.
 
Along with this decrease, the report notes areas of improvement. Clarification is needed on what constitutes a backlogged kit. Additional inconsistencies were found in giving victims the option to remain anonymous.
 
Per Act 27, victims can have evidence collected and stores for up to two years. This allows time to decide whether to file a full police report.
 
Improvement is also needed in clarifying issues of jurisdiction when the crime occured out-of-state but medical care and evidence collection are sought in Pennsylvania.
 
Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) Delilah Rumburg noted the importance of providing victims with quality care.
 
“A victim must have immediate access to skilled rape crisis support services,” Rumburg said. “The [...] report clearly reinforces the importance of streamlining how we respond to the needs of every rape victim, regardless of where that victim lives or was assaulted.”
 
For more information, visit the PCAR website

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