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Texas Bills Victims For Rape Kits Despite Funding


Nobody likes to answer a phone call from a bill collector. But imagine you're a rape victim, and that bill is for your rape kit — the invasive procedure conducted to collect DNA evidence.

Across the US, authorities drag their feet when it comes to using DNA evidence to prosecute rape. In LA County, 12,669 such rape kits sit in storage. But in Texas it's worse. Rape victims receive delinquent bills from the hospital and phone calls from creditors demanding they pay thousands of dollars for evidence collection. The bills present a financial burden, but they also serve a second dose of trauma for victims trying to heal.

Shockingly, a shortage of funds does not motivate the policy. The Texas crime victim compensation fund has a large surplus that could cover the costs. In addition, the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program, named after a victim whose assailant wasn't arrested for six years thanks to an untested kit, offers generous federal funding for rape kit testing.

Since it's not for a lack of money, what's happening in Texas offers troubling evidence that society does not consider rape a serious crime.

To see a video report on this practice in Texas, read more.

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