Senate Committee Affirms Longstanding Commitment to Addressing Rape Kit Backlogs

Capitol building in Washington DC against a blue sky

On Thursday, June 5, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that addresses the nation’s rape kit backlog. Central to this effort is the renewal of current funding levels of $117 million to support the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, which supports the testing of backlogged sexual assault forensic exams (rape kits). The bill also establishes and funds a new program to support community-based sexual assault response reform.

In April, the House of Representatives also approved level funding for the proven Debbie Smith Act and provided an additional $35 million in support of efforts to address backlogs of sexual assault kits at law enforcement agencies.

RAINN, together with allied organizations and individuals including the National Center for Victims of Crime, Debbie Smith of H-E-A-R-T, Inc, the National Alliance Against Sexual Violence, Parents of Murdered Children, Ed Smart of the Surviving Parents Coalition, DNA Saves, and the International Association of Forensic Nurses, has expressed support for continued funding of the Debbie Smith Act and complementary efforts that will help to remove serial criminals from our streets and enhance public safety.

The full Senate is expected to consider the spending measure, which also supports a number of other programs and initiatives designed to support victims of sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable, in the coming weeks. The differences between the House and Senate-approved spending plans must then be reconciled.

Join RAINN’s efforts to renew the Debbie Smith Program for the next five years, and support this and additional funding to help achieve justice for survivors: Be a part of the conversation on Twitter & Facebook: #ActwithRAINN