U.S. Senate passes bill to end rape kit backlog

U.S. Senate passes bill to end rape kit backlog
The Debbie Smith Act reauthorizes grants that support state and local efforts to process DNA evidence in rape kits. (Source: WBRC)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - The U.S. Senate passed the Debbie Smith Act of 2019 on Tuesday night, Dec. 17.

The Debbie Smith Act reauthorizes grants that support state and local efforts to process DNA evidence in rape kits.

The reauthorization would last through Fiscal Year 2024.

The passage of the bill will help state crime labs work through their backlogs of untested DNA samples and offer grants under the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Program.

The grants would also provide DNA training and education for law enforcement personnel, corrections personnel and court officers.

The legislation now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval.

Senator Josh Hawley, a cosponsor of the bill, believes the grant funding is crucial to state crime labs. After its passage Tuesday he released the following statement:

“Far too often, survivors of this horrendous crime go through the invasive process of completing a rape kit only to have the evidence that could put their attackers away sit on a shelf for years on end. This bill gives law enforcement the resources they need to deliver justice to these brave survivors.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri)

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