New York City will be contributing in a major way to combating sexual assault cases nationwide, with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on Wednesday pledging up to $35 million for the processing of rape evidence kits.
Vance announced the new initiative at a press conference Wednesday, The Associated Press reports, promising results for victims of sexual assault: "We want them to know that we, as a nation, are doing everything in our power to bring justice to them."
There are as many as 70,000 rape kits, containing DNA evidence, which have not been processed — sometimes for years or even decades — as each kit costs from $500 to $1,000 for testing. Advocates have criticized the backlog, however, as a failure of priorities.
"Each rape kit represents a person whose body is a crime scene," said victims' rights advocate Natasha Alexenko, who was also at the press conference with other advocates.