Virginia's Attorney General touted the efforts to get thousands of kits examined for DNA evidence at a conference of Virginia Sheriffs Wednesday. He described the need to test rape kits as “critically important.

There are thousands of rape kits across the Commonwealth and hundreds of them right here in Hampton Roads. They contain crucial pieces of evidence. 13News Now has been telling you they've been sitting on shelves in police departments for decades.

That's all changing after our "Test the Kits" Investigation aired and a state inventory was completed. On Wednesday, Mark Herring told sheriffs from all corners of Virginia the lab has already started examining the DNA evidence.

"Testing the kits is so critically important because of the serial nature of sexual assault,” Herring said. “Rarely does a perpetrator commit the crime of sexual assault or sexual violence only once. It is so important to test all the kits because it will help us link crimes with unknown perpetrators, identify additional crimes that known perpetrators have committed.”

Right now, as we were first to tell you, hundreds of untested kits from the Virginia Beach Police Department are being examined. We've learned one sheriff in Wednesday's group is working on a plan to get the kits out of local agencies and up to the lab. Our other local police departments, which still have hundreds of untested kits, should expect to hear from the Attorney General's office soon, requesting that evidence be sent.

“It will show the survivors of sexual violence that their Commonwealth and all of us stand with them as they pursue justice," Herring added.