Md. will use $2.6 million grant to test rape kits, hire victim advocates

WASHINGTON — Maryland authorities have received a $2.6 million grant that will go toward the testing of untested or unsubmitted rape-evidence kits.

The grant from the U.S. Justice Department’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative will also be used to develop a statewide kit-tracking system and to hire specialized victim advocates.

A recent audit revealed that statewide, around 3,700 kits remained untested by law enforcement agencies.

“The SAKI grant will provide law enforcement with the resources to bring consistency to the process of sexual assault evidence collection and testing, and to identify and hold sexual assailants accountable,” said Brian Frosh, Maryland’s attorney general.

Some DNA data will be uploaded into Maryland’s DNA database, according to a statement from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Due to the database’s effectiveness, efforts are underway to potentially extract DNA evidence from untested kits and ensure that evidence is used to expand “investigative abilities,” the statement said.

Since its launch in 2015, the initiative has helped with identifying and apprehending violent offenders and by addressing the problem of unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

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