Over 1,000 arrests made in rape cases after authorities tackle national rape kit backlog

Over 1,000 arrests made in rape cases after authorities tackle national rape kit backlog
© Getty Images

A joint investment in clearing backlogs of sexual assault evidence from federal authorities and New York prosecutors has resulted in over 1,000 arrests in the last three years.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced an update on the results of his $38 million investment on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have begun to rectify what has been a tragic failure of government and law enforcement at all levels — a decades-long, systematic denial of equal rights for women in the justice system," Vance said Tuesday, according to the report.

Vance’s office teamed up with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 to invest a total of $192 million so far in addressing the backlog of rape kits from over 250,000 sexual assault cases in more than two dozen states.

So far, a total of over 100,000 kits have been tested, sparking over 1,000 arrests and hundreds of convictions, according to the AP. Many alleged perpetrators cannot be prosecuted for legal reasons such as state-by-state statutes of limitations.

Victims of sexual assault have long raised concerns about the backlog, and advocates have warned that the extensive number of rape kits sitting untested shows that sexual assault cases are not taken seriously by authorities.

The initial grant partnership, between the Obama White House and Vance’s office, saw federal officials initially put $41 million into the effort to clear the backlog of untested kits.