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Federal Funding Highlighted in Clearing Hawai‘i’s Rape Kit Backlog

April 24, 2019, 3:56 PM HST
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In a visit to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Headquarters on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Sen. Mazie K. Hirono highlighted the important role federal funding played in helping Hawai‘i law enforcement clear a backlog of 1,500 untested rape kits statewide. In 2016, the Office of the Hawai‘i Attorney General successfully applied for, received, and utilized a $2 million grant under the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) to process untested rape kits over a three-year period.

Senator Hirono and HPD Chief Susan Ballard discuss the Department’s efforts to clear the state’s rape kit backlog at HPD Headquarters. Courtesy photo.

“Federal funding was essential in helping Hawai‘i law enforcement process 1,500 rape kits that had previously gone untested,” Sen. Hirono said. “Survivors of rape and sexual assault deserve swift access to justice, and I will continue to fight for federal funding that will assist local law enforcement across our country clear the testing backlog and build infrastructure to ensure that new kits are processed quickly and accurately.”

During her visit, Sen. Hirono also learned more about how HPD is using a Department of Justice DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction grant to improve its laboratory infrastructure and fund personnel and equipment for in-house testing of new kits.

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