Cohen Hails Federal Grant of More than $1 Million to Help Process Rape Kits
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen today hailed the announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice that the City of Memphis will be receiving more than $1 million to help process unsubmitted rape kits in law enforcement custody.
“I am pleased that Memphis will be receiving more than $1 million to help ensure that rape kits get processed. DNA analysis is a powerful weapon against sexual assailants, but it can’t do any good when rape kits don’t get processed,” said Congressman Cohen. "This grant will help the City of Memphis and our local law enforcement track down assailants, help victims get justice, and protect individuals from becoming victimized by recidivists. I will continue fighting in Congress to ensure that sexual assailants are brought to justice.”
The funding awarded to the City of Memphis comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which provides grants to address unsubmitted sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody. Memphis will be receiving $1,071,394.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) to include an additional $4 million in the Fiscal Year 2018 House appropriations package for SAKI funding nationally. The passage continued a trend in increased national funding for SAKI by Congress. In 2015, Congressman Cohen and Congresswoman Maloney successfully offered an amendment to increase funding for SAKI by $4 million. In 2014, Congressman Cohen successfully offered an amendment to increase funding for SAKI by $5 million. If the recently House-passed amendment becomes law, Congress will have increased SAKI funding nationally from $36 million to $49 million since 2014 – a 36% increase.
At its peak, the backlog reached 12,000 untested kits in Memphis alone with an estimated 400,000 sitting in evidence rooms nationwide. In 2015, Memphis received nearly $2 million from this grant program to reduce its rape kit backlog.