Rep. Dina Titus announces $2 million grant to test sex assault kit backlog | NevadaAppeal.com

Rep. Dina Titus announces $2 million grant to test sex assault kit backlog

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., on Thursday announced Nevada will receive a $1,962,414 grant from the Justice Department to expand efforts to expand testing of rape kits in the state.

Lawmakers were told there were more than 7,500 kits containing the DNA of rapists in Nevada that haven’t been tested, some dating back as far as 35 years. The problem is it can cost up to $1,500 to test each kit.

Those DNA samples are collected at hospitals following a report of a case of sexual assault and have been stored in crime labs both in Southern and Northern Nevada.

Titus said the grant will provide resources for investigators and prosecutors, asses policies to prevent future backlogs and create new training programs for law enforcement.

The money will also pay to hire a sexual assault resource prosecutor, a victim’s advocate and other personnel.

The grant is similar to the one Nevada received in 2015.

She said the program shows assault victims law enforcement is working to bring them justice.

“I applaud the DOJ for continuing to provide the state these much needed resources for addressing the current backlog and building a better community response system for the future,” she said. “Justice for victims cannot wait while kits remain on a shelf.”

The Nevada grant is part of a $41 million nationwide package to reduce or eliminate the backlog in a number of states.