States with the worst rape kit backlogs

If VAWA funds are accepted, the victim is the chooser. Law enforcement sometimes struggle to understand and respect that right.

42 §3796gg–4. Rape exam payments

(b) Medical costs
A State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government shall be deemed to incur the full out-of-pocket cost of forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault if any government entity-
(1) provides such exams to victims free of charge to the victim; or
(2) arranges for victims to obtain such exams free of charge to the victims.

(d) Noncooperation
(1) In general
To be in compliance with this section, a State, Indian tribal government, or unit of local government shall comply with subsection (b) without regard to whether the victim participates in the criminal justice system or cooperates with law enforcement.

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Yes and part of the value of doing kits even for victims who won’t cooperate or are perceived by law enforcement as lacking credibility is that serial perpetrators can be caught with pattern evidence.

One weak case is strong when combined with 34 others — or 3— that establish a pattern of perpetration.

Serial perpetrators tend to choose vulnerable victims so it’s important to permit everyone access to a kit even if the isolated case doesn’t immediately look strong.


You need different instruments for different tasks. If the DNA analysis pipeline is full, having free capacities at the chromatography pipeline won’t help you.

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Anyone who alleges that they are ‘tough on crime’; but has been in a position to do something about this without having taken advantage of it, needs a good, solid, crushing.


Hospitals which receive government money (i.e., basically all of them) are required to treat rape victims for free, which includes use of the Vitullo kit to collect evidence. They’re also required to treat them first as top priority (only exceptions are gunshot victims and other immediately life-threatening cases) and give them a private space immediately, even before treatment.

Victim can refuse to be treated, of course. Can also refuse the kit. But the victim does not decide whether or not someone is arrested and/or tried. In practice, if the victim tells the police they won’t name the perpetrator(s) or won’t testify against them (if already in police custody), then the district/state attorney’s office is probably not going to bother with the case, but it’s not actually the victim’s call.


That’s correct that criminal investigation and/or prosecution is not the victim’s decision.

You sound like you have some experience with these issies. Do you happen to have the federal code section, cases and/or CFR for remedies, if any, when a hospital delays or declines to perform the sexual assault forensic examination?

Once upon a time, yes, but when I moved to another state I stopped the work I was doing and did not continue it after that point, so I’m out of date with regard to documentation. Quite out of date: this was back in the 1980s! But I know from friends who are hospital administrators at a couple of different hospitals that the basic regulations are still in place. Small changes I wouldn’t know about, however.


What about the cites to the basic regulations? It could help.

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