Lincoln Police releases report for untested sexual assault kits
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Backlogs of untested sexual assault kits are a problem that’s been seen in police departments across the country, and in some cases, a problem that’s drawn scrutiny.
As of November 1, 2022, the Lincoln Police Department had tested roughly 65% of all the kits it’s seen this year. It’s a sharp jump compared to last year when just 37% were tested.
When it comes to sexual assault kits, there are several reasons why they might not be tested. The Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence said that can include victims who report an assault and want to remain anonymous, or the victim is a minor, or the victim died. Many others, however, want answers.
“Some survivors find that an important part of the trauma of a sexual assault and a part of their healing,” said Christon MacTaggart, executive director of the coalition.
According to a report filed by LPD this week, there have been 122 total sexual assault kits collected in 2022. 79 of those kits were tested, which is about 65%. Between 2015 and 2021 that rate ranged from just 37% to 56%.
Because of legislation passed in 2020, law enforcement agencies in Omaha and Lincoln are required to report the number of untested kits.
“I think transparency is always important,” MacTaggart said. “Letting people know what sexual violence looks like in their community, letting people know how survivors are accessing care and support in the community.”
In total, LPD said it currently has 514 untested kits collected from 2004 to now.
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