Illinois lawmakers address rape kit backlog - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois lawmakers address rape kit backlog

The Woman's Center in Carbondale is a place where victims can go to feel safe and find help. The Woman's Center in Carbondale is a place where victims can go to feel safe and find help.
"Having to go through the kit in the first place is always an invasive, challenging and difficult process,” she said. "Having to go through the kit in the first place is always an invasive, challenging and difficult process,” she said.
Sheriff Steve Bareis with the Perry County Sheriff's Department says they handle two to three sexual assault cases a month. Sheriff Steve Bareis with the Perry County Sheriff's Department says they handle two to three sexual assault cases a month.
PERRY COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Advocacy groups are upset after a disturbing report finds thousands of untested rape kits in cities and states around the country.

According to Endthebacklog.com, every Heartland state has enacted reform to try and get a handle on the problem, except Missouri.

It's unknown how many thousands of rape kits are sitting in storage.

But what I did find out is that some victims can wait up to a year for their evidence to be tested.

So, lawmakers are stepping in.

"It is absolutely a difficult process for survivors,” said Megan Jones-Williams, a program coordinator with the Rape Crisis Center.

The Woman's Center in Carbondale is a place where victims can go to feel safe and find help.

Part of her job is making sure victims know everything about the evidence collection process, including rape kits.

"Having to go through the kit in the first place is always an invasive, challenging and difficult process,” she said.

But she adds waiting for their attacker to be caught is just as difficult.

Sheriff Steve Bareis with the Perry County Sheriff's Department says they handle two to three sexual assault cases a month.

He says he blames some of the backlog problems on state funding.

"The need to take evidence from collection site to department to the crime lab and get it processed so we can basically have DNA to nail the one person that DNA is going to match with,” he said.

Lawmakers in Illinois recently passed a measure to allow prosecution 10 years from the evidence being tested, instead of 10 years from the crime in hopes the process of catching a victims attacker will move faster.

"It is always good when we can take a cold case and make it a hot case and put someone behind bars,” said Sheriff Bareis.

Jones-Williams calls the step progress, but sees much more to be done.

"When they make to get the kit done, there is an expectation that it is take seriously,” she said.

Out of every 100 sexual assaults, only seven lead to an arrest and only about 2 percent of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.
  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Podiatrist sentenced to prison for health care fraud

    Podiatrist sentenced to prison for health care fraud

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 9:46 AM EDT2017-08-16 13:46:12 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    A Chicago podiatrist has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $7 million in restitution following his conviction for health care fraud.

    A Chicago podiatrist has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $7 million in restitution following his conviction for health care fraud.

  • Woman arrested in $2M Missouri embezzlement case

    Woman arrested in $2M Missouri embezzlement case

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 9:10 AM EDT2017-08-16 13:10:35 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    Authorities say a woman has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $2 million while working as an officer administrator for a commercial real estate property management company in suburban St. Louis.

    Authorities say a woman has been arrested on charges of embezzling more than $2 million while working as an officer administrator for a commercial real estate property management company in suburban St. Louis.

  • Schmitt backs Hawley for Missouri Senate bid

    Schmitt backs Hawley for Missouri Senate bid

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 8:11 AM EDT2017-08-16 12:11:35 GMT
    Josh Hawley (Source: Missouri Attorney General's Office)Josh Hawley (Source: Missouri Attorney General's Office)

    Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt says he's backing fellow Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley to run for Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's seat.

    Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt says he's backing fellow Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley to run for Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill's seat.

Powered by Frankly