Last night the Senate unanimously passed the Debbie Smith Act of 2019, a bill that authorizes crucial grant funding to help state crime labs work through their backlogs of untested DNA samples, including rape kits. The bill now heads to the President’s desk. U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), an original cosponsor of the Debbie Smith Act, issued 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.”
While Attorney General of Missouri, Senator Hawley conducted a statewide audit of rape kits where he found that the state had more than 5,000 untested kits. The state was then able to secure the necessary federal funding to tackle this backlog and to begin to set up a statewide rape kit tracking system.