JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley held a press conference and released preliminary results regarding a statewide rape kit audit on Thursday, May 24.
Preliminary results show that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual assault kits currently in the possession of law enforcement agencies, crime labs, and healthcare providers.
Hawley's office received information from 266 law enforcement agencies, 66 healthcare providers, and five crime labs. His office also met with stakeholders from across the State.
"From a law enforcement perspective, any rape kit that goes untested means a powerful tool for identifying and prosecuting sex criminals remains unutilized, and a rapist remains on the streets," Hawley said. "From an individual perspective, any kit that goes untested means a survivor is denied the justice they so deserve. We must do all in our power to eliminate this problem in Missouri and work to better track evidence that will help identify perpetrators."
He will also addressed the need for funding. In April, the Mo. legislature gave the Attorney General's Office authority to apply for a $3 million federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant.
Hawley's office has applied for the grant and will work with stakeholders to develop uniform state practices for the handling and processing of sexual assault evidence kits.
"Testing sexual assault evidence kits is vital to solving crimes and putting violent perpetrators behind bars," Hawley said. "We also have a duty to sexual assault survivors, and must do all in our power to bring them the peace of mind they so deserve."
CLICK HERE to read the preliminary report.