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First phase of testing on backlog of Virginia's rape kits completed

Testing has been completed on nearly 1,800 previously untested rape kits collected prior to 2014 and held by Virginia law enforcement agencies.

RICHMOND, Va. — Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced in a news release Wednesday that the first phase of the project to eliminate Virginia’s rape kit backlog is complete. 

Nearly 1,800 previously untested rape kits collected prior to 2014 and held by Virginia law enforcement agencies, including kits that had gone untested for decades are complete, Herring's office said. 

The testing is part of Herring’s $3.4 million project, jointly with the Department of Forensic Science and local law enforcement, to completely eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits, and to transform the way Virginia responds to sexual violence, the news release said.

SEE ALSO: Tests on backlogged rape kits leads to 186 new arrests

Here is what has been done so far in the project:

  • 1,770 kits have been tested
  • 568 DNA profiles have been uploaded into CODIS, the national Combined DNA Index System
  • 239 “hits” have been sent to law enforcement agencies for further investigation, including 144 “confirmatory hits” that confirmed the identity of a previously known suspect, and 56 hits in cases that had been previously cleared by arrest
  • At least 58 cases have been reopened for investigation or are currently under review for potential reopening 

“This project has been a real catalyst for significant changes in the way sexual violence is investigated and prosecuted in Virginia, and the way that survivors are treated when they come forward,” Herring said. 

Click on a county or city below to see a breakdown of the data for that locality:

“This testing has helped expand our ability to identify and prosecute perpetrators, and our investments in training, infrastructure, and organization are making trauma-informed, survivor-centered practices the new norm. We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, and it will still take some time for law enforcement to reexamine all the cases that now have new evidence, but I’m really encouraged by the progress we’ve made and all the support we’ve gotten from survivors, victims’ advocates, healthcare providers, lawmakers, and our law enforcement partners.” 

RELATED: In unusual step, victims told of destroyed rape kits

Testing continues on kits collected between 2014 and 2016 using a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI.) 

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