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Frederick R. Remer
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Rape kits in domestic violence cases could be processed faster

According to recent reports, there is a backlog in the testing of rape kits for all kinds of victims, including domestic violence victims. It could take several weeks, months or even years for a rape kit to be tested. This can cause problems across the board, but it appears there has been an advance in the technology with which a rape kit is tested.

The advances in technology would allow a rape kit to be processed in a more timely manner. It should help to reduce the 225,000 or so rape kits that are awaiting analysis. Part of the advances came from right here in Alameda county. A technique developed by the Oakland Police Department now makes it easier and quicker for the analyst or technology to differentiate between the attacker's and victim's cells. This could shed light on domestic violence cases, as well as incidents of rape.

Not only can it give information and clarity to the victims, it can help to weed out false accusations. False accusations happen in every sector of criminal law and they happen for a variety of reasons. When DNA analysis is involved, it can clear up discrepancies for the accused and the accuser. In Oakland, and the surrounding area, the new technology has been used to speed through 243 rape kits, eliminating the backlog for the year.

Thinking ahead, this process could be used to help determine not only the validity of a person's claim, but to determine with less than a percent of doubt what person could have been involved. While it might not name a person, DNA evidence from rape kits can also eliminate suspects. This is freeing for those individuals as well.

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