The Kansas Bureau of Investigation released recommendations for preventing back logs of rape kits in the state. It`s an effort that started three years ago when there were 2,220 rape kits found shelved in evidence rooms across the state of Kansas.
That year, the KBI started The Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to determine what lead to the backlog. The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence is one of the groups that worked with the KBI on the findings. Executive Director Joyce Grover is still reviewing the final draft, but says more public awareness about rape is crucial.
“I think we have a lot of misconceptions or biases about what rape is,” said Grover.
She says too many people cling to outdated ideas about rape that puts the blame on the victim.
“I`m disappointed in it, and I wish I could say I was shocked, but I think it`s really a long history of this type of violence that we really have to undo,” said Grover.
Lack of societal awareness is just one of the factors identified; lack of resources mainly money and staff, lack of statewide policy on managing the kits, and lack of training were also listed.
“So for law enforcement, perhaps training might make the difference between interrogating a victim and interviewing a victim. I think officers who really know the difference, know what a big difference that can make,” said Grover.
The 30-page report gives in-depth suggestions which include specially trained police and prosecutors, more funding for forensic science labs, and computerized evidence management systems. The report found that only 20 percent of Kansas law enforcement agencies have them to locate and analyze kits.
The recommendations will continue to be developed, and will be shared in a final report when the initiative`s grant ends.