Detroit Rape Kit Project

 The prevalence of sexual assault in the United States is staggering. According to a study conducted by the National Victim Center one in four females and one in six males will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, sexual assault is the violent crime least often reported to law enforcement. Given that the crime is greatly under-reported, the prevalence of sexual assault is probably also grossly underestimated. 

In 2009, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy’s office discovered 11,304 sexual assault kits in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility. The kits, which were collected between 1984 and 2009, were never submitted for DNA testing. A sexual assault kit is the DNA taken from a victim’s body after a sexual assault. Each one of the untested kits represents a man, woman or child who suffered a violent assault and underwent a lengthy and physically invasive evidentiary collection procedure in an effort to apprehend his or her assailant. If tested, a sexual assault kit can identify an unknown assailant, affirm a victim’s version of events, discredit a suspect’s story and connect evidence to serial rapists. In contrast, an untested kit can often mean justice denied for victims. 

Faced with 11,304 untested sexual assault kits, Prosecutor Worthy applied for, and received, a grant from the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Department of Justice. Under the grant, a group of multi-disciplinary stakeholders, along with sexual assault researchers from Michigan State University, meet regularly to determine how thousands of sexual assault kits came to be warehoused, how to move forward and how to ensure that the problem does not happen again. Prosecutor Worthy is dedicated to ensuring that: every kit is tested: every case is investigated; and that a victim-centered approach to the investigation of sexual assault is implemented at a state and national level.

 

2016 September - Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force FAQs

Monday, October 03, 2016 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
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2016 Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force FAQ - March 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
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Press Release - November 3, 2015 - Wayne County Executive Identifies $1 Million to Support Crucial Phase of Backlogged Rape Kits

Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans Has Identified Funding to Help Investigate Backlogged Rape Kits; Provides Office Space in Guardian Building for Sexual Assault Kit Task Force Agents' Investigative Work
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Press Release - September 30, 2015 - African American 490 Challenge - Broad Coalition Rallies Around Efforts to Fund Rape Kit Testing, Investigations

Thursday, October 08, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
African American 490 Challenge for Enough SAID Seeks to Raise over $500,000
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Press Release - September 10, 2015 - United States Department of Justice Announces Grants for the Eastern District of Michigan to Address Backlog of Untested Sexual Assault Kits

Thursday, September 10, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
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Press Release - September 2, 2015 - Gov. Snyder: Michigan State Police completes testing of shelved sexual assault evidence kits in Wayne Co.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Project 8000 culminates five years of intense efforts from MSP, AG, Prosecutor Worthy and many others to obtain justice for survivors
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7/20/2015 - NBC - Why Haven't 70,000 Rape Kits Been Tested For DNA? By Kate Snow and Rich McHugh

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - NBC News - Kate Snow and Rich McHugh
Hundreds of thousands of rape kits that could identify serial sexual attackers are sitting untested by police departments across the country — despite promises and federal funds to clear the backlog, a new agency-by-agency count suggests.
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2015 June SAK Task Force FAQ Sheet

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
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Press Release - May 19, 2015 - State of Michigan Attorney General Schutte, Worthy, Etue, Craig Announce New Resources for Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Cases

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Schuette, Worthy, Etue, Craig Announce New Resources for Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Cases
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Press Release - January 6, 2015 - Enough SAID - Michigan Women's Foundation, Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and Detroit Crime Commission Unveil "Enough SAID" Collaboration to Secure Justice for Victims Represented in Untested Rape Kits

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Unique Public Private Partnership and Special Fundraising Campaign Announced at January 6, 2015 Press Event
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Press Release - January 6, 2015 - Enough SAID Fact Sheet

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
Enough SAID Sexual Assault Fact Sheet.
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Press Packet - Proposed Sexual Assault Kit and Evidence Submission Act - Press Conference for Prosecutor Worthy and Mariska Hargitay - March 10, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014 - Wayne County Prosecutors Office
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Prosecutor leads effort to test long-abandoned rape kits, brings justice to victims

Friday, February 15, 2013 - NBC News
From Chicago to Los Angeles to Houston, cities are grappling with thousands of untested rape kits. Through a national grant, Worthy is attempting to set a protocol for how other states tackle backlogged rape kits.
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Kym L. Worthy
Wayne County Prosecutor
(313) 224-5777

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