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Research Project to Target Untested Rape Kits: Study to determine the problem and find a solution to the large number of untested rape kits.

Research Project to Target Untested Rape Kits

Researchers at Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at Austin will team up with representatives from the criminal justice system in Houston to establish protocols that will determine when sexual assault kits need to be tested by crime labs.

"This is a problem-solving project that seeks to determine why so many kits are not being tested," said Dr. William Wells, who is leading the research project at Sam Houston State University. "The goal is to create appropriate solutions that can be implemented and to determine if there are ways that forensic evidence in these kits can be used effectively."

The project is the first phase of a study, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which will investigate the issue and develop strategies – including the notification of victims – that may help to solve the problem of untested evidence in sexual assaults that currently exist in many cities around the country. There are currently about 4,000 untested rape kits in the Houston Police Department’s Property Room. A second study funded by NIJ will focus on Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan.

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