Thursday, we learned how many more rape kits need to be tested to eliminate the backlog here in Virginia.
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced the completion of a statewide count of more untested rape kits.
We now know there are 1,247 additional rape kits police departments collected from victims, but never sent for DNA testing.
“For many survivors the fact that their kit was never tested denied them justice and the sense of security that comes from having your kit tested,” Herring said in Fairfax, Thursday.
These kits are different from the main backlog 13News Now has been following.
Instead of coming from decades of old cases, these 1,247 kits were collected from victims alleging assault between 2014 and 2016.
We examined the just released inventory and found almost 200 of these cases are from the seven cities right here in Hampton Roads:
- Suffolk: 6 kits
- Portsmouth: 7 kits
- Norfolk: 9 kits
- Newport News: 11 kits
- Hampton: 34 kits
- Chesapeake: 45 kits
- Virginia Beach: 66 kits
- TOTAL: 178 kits
We've also learned the Attorney General has already applied for money to have these kits tested.
As part of a $3.4 million project, the rape kit backlog in Virginia will be completely eliminated after these kits are tested.
Because of a law we've told you about, which creates requirements that mandate the testing of every single new rape kit, the Commonwealth should never build up a backlog again.
“The wheels of justice are starting to turn for more survivors here in Virginia,” Herring added.
13News Now contacted public information officers for each of the seven police departments above for statements on their totals in the inventory.
A spokesperson for the Newport News Police Department responded:
"The Newport News Police Department is up to date on our test kits. The ones that were not sent were either blind test kits or immediately unfounded."
A blind kit in Virginia means a victim submits to a rape kit at the hospital but decides not to report to law enforcement.
We are still waiting to hear back from the other police departments in our area.
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