KIYC documentary prompts state senator to call for all rape kits in New Jersey to be tested

State Sen. Vin Copal says the state owes it to sexual assault victims to have their rape kits tested.

Walt Kane

Jun 12, 2024, 9:27 PM

Updated 37 days ago

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A New Jersey state senator says the state owes it to survivors of sexual assault to test any rape kits they turn over to law enforcement. The comments come in the wake of a Kane In Your Corner primetime documentary, which exposed how New Jersey treats rape survivors.
In “Victims of the System,” survivors of sexual assault told Kane In Your Corner that law enforcement officials didn’t take the crimes against them seriously. They said the proof was that prosecutors had chosen not even to open their rape kits to test for DNA.
“I expected once I released it, for it to at least be tested,” says one survivor, who News 12 agreed to identify only as “Jane.” “If he's doing this to me on a first date, you know, how many other women has he done that to this week?”
“It can probably just be in a box sitting somewhere for all I know,” says Lena Morrison, another survivor.
State Sen. Vin Gopal (D - Ocean Township) says, “The brave individuals who relive the trauma of their assault during a forensic examination deserve answers and the assurance that their kits will be tested in a timely fashion.”
“Testing all kits is critical in cases involving serial offenders to ensure justice for survivors,” he continued.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General insists testing all kits for DNA is not necessary because in most cases, survivors can identify their attackers. But many advocates argue that view is shortsighted because many rapists are serial offenders.
When prosecutors in Wayne County, Michigan tested 11,341 backlogged rape kits, they closed 4,029 investigations, identified 841 serial rapists and put 239 sex offenders behind bars. Advocates contend New Jersey could see similar results if every kit that survivors authorized to be tested were tested.


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