The Backlog:

Pennsylvania

In July 2015, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation that requires law enforcement to collect sexual assault kits from the health care provider within 72 hours of receiving notice and to submit that evidence to a laboratory within 15 days of receiving the kit. The bill also mandates that the lab is to complete testing within six months from date of the receipt, and requires a report on untested backlogs within 6 months. Additionally, the bill improves victim notification practices by amending the Crime Victims Act to include: the right to be informed when their evidence is submitted for testing, the right to be notified when a DNA sample is entered into CODIS, and the right to be notified if the sample resulted in a match.

In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner was awarded $254,437 in funding to test 400 rape kits. The City of Philadelphia Police Department also received funding through the initiative.

According to the Pennsylvania Health Department, there is a backlog of more than 1,800 kits statewide. However, some police departments didn't respond so we do not know the extent of the backlog in Pennsylvania. Like most states, Pennsylvania does not require its law enforcement agencies to track or count rape kits, making it difficult to know the extent of the rape kit backlog in the state. 

  • Backlog Status

Count
Partially Counted
Testing
In Testing
Resolved
Not Cleared
Size
1,852*

*This figure is a partial count of the total rape kit backlog, based on funding awarded by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

  • Reform Status

Tracking Testing Victim Notification
No Known Reform
Reform in Progress
Partial Reform
Complete Reform
  • Additional Information

Through The Accountability Project, we are using public records requests to bring the number of untested kits in Philadelphia to light.

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