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Clearing the Backlog of Rape Kits in North Carolina

Credit: iStock

Attorney General Josh Stein’s tenure has been marked by his concerted efforts to address the issue of untested rape kits in North Carolina, a problem that has plagued the state’s criminal justice system for decades. In a move hailed as a breakthrough, Stein’s office recently announced that the state had cleared its backlog of these kits, some of which had been shelved for years without testing.

This milestone was achieved through bipartisan legislative support and the enactment of the Survivor Act, which Stein championed. This legislation provided $6 million for testing old kits and established a system that mandates timely submission of new kits. The clearing of the backlog, which once stood at over 16,000 kits, has resulted in 114 arrests and numerous convictions, demonstrating a significant stride towards justice for survivors of sexual assault.

The impacts of this initiative are profound, with cases that had remained cold for years finally moving toward resolution. The commitment to maintaining this momentum is evident in the continued efforts to prevent future backlogs and implement a tracking system for newly collected kits. As North Carolina approaches another legislative session, the outcomes of these efforts stand as a testament to the state’s renewed focus on supporting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable.