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Ending the National Rape Kit Backlog

Vice President Joe Biden, Manhattan DA Vance tour a lab in the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, led by Dr. Barbara Sampson.

On September 10th, District Attorney Vance announced the award of approximately $38 million in grants to 32 jurisdictions in 20 states across the United States to eliminate backlogs of untested sexual assault evidence kits, or “rape kits.” The two-year awards, ranging in amount from approximately $97,000 to $2 million, will help test an estimated 56,475 rape kits, generating DNA evidence that will help solve cases across the country. 

    Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch joined District Attorney Vance to announce the recipients of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s separate, but complementary, $41 million Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grant Program, which is expected to test approximately 13,500 kits in 20 jurisdictions. 

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Read the Press Release


Watch the Press Conference

Read the Fact Sheet

About the Rape Kit Backlog:

In the late 1990s, there were approximately 17,000 untested rape kits in New York City, representing thousands of unsolved cases, and thousands of victims waiting months, years, even decades, for justice. For the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the backlog was unacceptable. The Office’s Sex Crimes Unit – the first of its kind in the nation – led an initiative to test every rape kit in the City’s custody. Clearing the backlog enabled the Office to file 49 indictments based on DNA cold case hits. Combined, those offenders are now serving more than 900 years in jail. 

Now, the District Attorney’s Office is helping other cities across the United States do the same, same, pledging as much as $35 million in funding to help eliminate rape kit backlogs nationwide. The Office plans to fund the testing of backlogged rape kits, audit the scope of jurisdictions’ backlogs, create data- and information-sharing systems, and ensure that individual jurisdictions adhere to best practices for the testing and use of rape kit evidence. 

Read more about our committment: 

Manhattan’s D.A. Addresses a National Problem (Editorial)

Rape Kit Contribution Should Spur Congressional Action (Editorial)

Manhattan DA Backlog Elimination Grant Program RFP.pdf104.03 KB
DANY SAK Backlog Elimination Program FAQs.pdf133.41 KB
DANY Sexual Assault Kit RFP Webinar.pdf287.55 KB