Today, David Pepper, Democratic Candidate for Ohio Attorney General, held a roundtable discussion with Hamilton County residents to discuss his plan to prevent violence against women—focusing in particular on the need to improve services for survivors of violence and to clear the backlog of untested rape kits in the Attorney General’s Office.
Data released this month by the Ohio Attorney General shows the backlog of untested rape kits has grown for seven consecutive months, and has almost doubled over the past 16 months. It now stands at 3,466 (see chart below). Pepper’s plan proposes that by sharing the work with crime labs across the state, as prior Attorneys General have done on priority issues, he would erase the backlog far more quickly, and more cost-effectively, than the current Attorney General’s go-it-alone strategy.
“The growing backlog of untested rape kits at the Attorney General’s office shows that there’s a bottleneck in the process, with the demand for justice for rape survivors far outpacing the office’s capacity,” Pepper said. “Collaboration among all Ohio labs who can do this work would greatly speed up the process and quickly reduce the backlog.”
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, Hamilton County Coroner, joined Pepper at the event and expressed support for his plan to end the backlog of untested rape kits through cross-lab collaboration:
“This is an excellent example where the state could accomplish more through partnerships and shared services than it can working alone. With collaboration, the Hamilton County Crime Lab and other local labs could help clear this backlog in a much shorter period of time than the current pace.”
As part of a plan released last month to prevent violence against women, Pepper proposes to share the responsibility for testing with properly equipped regional crime labs. He will also work with the legislature to provide the funding needed to clear all untested rape kits within 150 days of taking office.
Read Pepper’s full plan to prevent violence against women: davidpepper.com/preventingabuse