The Quad-City Times recently reported that there are 671 untested rape kits sitting in storage at the police department in Davenport, Iowa; some have been there since the 1990s. Of the 47 rape kits collected in Davenport in 2012, police sent only 8 kits to the crime lab. Of the 64 kits collected in 2011, only 12 went to the lab for testing.
When asked about the untested kits, Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez explained, “There are rape kits there that nothing can be done with. If we don’t know the victim, the suspect or the location of the incident, how can we conduct an investigation?”
After undergoing a rape kit examination, which can take between four and six hours, some victims of sexual assault decide not to report the assault to the police. In these instances, the rape kit is sometimes referred to as an “anonymous” or “Jane Doe” kit. To protect the victim’s privacy, the rape kit does not reveal any identifying information. Victims are given a code number they can use to identify themselves if they later choose to report the assault.
How long a police department must store an anonymous kit varies by state and jurisdiction. Under Iowa law, police More >