Kamala’s plan would invest $1 billion to allow states to fully eliminate their rape-kit backlogs within four years and implement reforms to ensure a backlog does not happen again. On average, it costs $1,000 to $1,500 to test one rape kit. The annual estimated cost of the program is $100 million, which is $2 million less than what taxpayers have reportedly spent on President Trump’s golf trips. Rape kits are used by medical professionals to collect evidence during a medical exam of a sexual assault victim in order to establish elements of a crime, and in the last decade, roughly 225,000 known untested rape kits have been uncovered.
As Attorney General, Kamala eliminated a longstanding backlog of DNA analysis and more than 1,000 untested rape kits in state-run labs and introduced new technology to dramatically increase the speed with which cases are analyzed. Kamala’s program earned her office the U.S. Department of Justice’s Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services and was considered as “a model for use statewide.” She also backed California legislation in 2016 “to illuminate the state’s invisible backlog of untested rape kits,” and in the U.S. Senate, she sponsors The Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act, which would make rape kits more readily available at hospitals nationwide.
To receive additional funding under her plan, states will be required to implement four reforms:
- Annually counting and reporting the number of untested rape kits.
- Requiring the submission and testing of all newly collected rape kits within a short time frame.
- Tracking rape kits and giving victims the right to know the status of their rape kits.
- Increasing the availability of rape kits statewide, including in rural and remote areas. States will have the option to partner with the FBI to eliminate their backlog or to receive federal funding to process kits on their own. States will also be encouraged to enact laws that require law enforcement agencies to preserve rape kits for the duration of the statute of limitations.