The process of counting every untested "rape kit" in the state is near completion.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Wednesday that 95.6% of law enforcement agencies and 98.5% of hospitals and Veterans Affairs medical facilities have completed their inventory of the sexual assault evidence known as the "rape kit," according to a news release from the attorney general's office.
The initiative seeks "to eliminate the backlog of untested sexual assault kits through gathering an inventory, creating an electronic tracking system, and eventually testing certain kits to hold offenders accountable," according to the release.
The Missourian reported in 2017 on the problem of untested sexual assault evidence, prompting a statewide audit of the backlog in law enforcement agencies and hospitals by then-Attorney General Josh Hawley, according to previous Missourian reporting.
The SAFE Kits Initiative was launched Feb. 27, 2019, and Schmitt appointed Judge M. Keithley Williams to lead the effort to eliminate the backlog of sexual assault kits.
“With these updated numbers, we are nearing the completion of the inventory phase of the SAFE Kits Initiative, a huge milestone in eliminating the backlog of untested sexual assault kits," Schmitt said in the release.
The effort received funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, according to the release.
Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.