Congressman Brendan Boyle Applauds Increased Funding
Washington, DC- Today, Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA-13) commended Vice President Joseph Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. for the announcement that millions of dollars in grants will be used to analyze thousands of rape kits that have been sitting on local law enforcement shelves for years, neglected and untested; which left victims in unimaginable limbo, without any closure or sense of justice.
“This additional funding will make a huge difference for the timely, effective prosecution of rape and sexual assault crimes across the country,” said Congressman Boyle. “My fight for increased funding began on the state level in Pennsylvania years ago. I am pleased to see this infusion of money to help several cities, including Philadelphia, address the rape kit backlog – and I remain committed to fighting for additional resources. The need is great, and long overdue.”
As reported in the New York Times, a series of grants will be distributed to law enforcement across the United States to test DNA samples in thousands of neglected evidence kits. The U.S. Department of Justice vowed those funds will also be used to analyze why the backlogs occurred in the first place, and what changes can be made to prevent these issues from reoccurring. Much of this funding was authorized in 2013 as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
In total, $79 million will be dedicated to addressing the rape kit backlog through targeted grants. The first set of grants, funded by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, range from $97,000 for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in Austin, Tex., to $1.9 million for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Ariz. These funds will total $38 million. The second set of grants, pledged by the U.S. Department of Justice, total $41 million. The recipients for these grants will include police departments in Philadelphia, Penn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Miami, Fla.; Riverside, Calif.; and Tallahassee, Fla. State police crime labs in Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin are also on the list of grantees.