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Attorney General Josh Stein Provides Sexual Assault Kit Testing Update

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced a new record of hits in the CODIS DNA database: 1,211 hits. That is a nearly 18 percent increase from the previous fiscal year and means that – thanks to increased testing – law enforcement has more ability than ever to move forward on cases. In addition to announcing this milestone, Attorney General Stein has launched a statewide sexual assault kit tracking dashboard at www.ncdoj.gov/testthekits. The online dashboard provides up-to-date information about North Carolina’s progress in ending the backlog of older untested sexual assault kits in local law enforcement custody. North Carolinians can view municipal, county, and statewide data about the number of kits submitted for testing and the number of DNA hits and arrests that result from these kits being tested.

“Our commitment to survivors of sexual assault is clear: we will never stop fighting for you,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That is why we are getting these kits tested – to breathe new life into cold cases. Our new website will provide everyone, including survivors, greater transparency about this work. But there is always more to be done to fight on behalf of survivors. To collect on the promise of DNA, we need to provide law enforcement the resources it needs to make arrests.”

Of the 16,235 older kits in local law enforcement custody, 12,189 kits require or may require testing based on the criteria of the Survivor Act. Of those kits, more than 80 percent have been tested (6,640) or are in the process of being tested (3,440). DNA samples from 2,387 kits tested have been entered into the CODIS DNA database and about 40 percent (954 kits) of those samples have resulted in a hit that may help law enforcement further investigations and solve cold cases.

DNA is a powerful tool. In recent years, law enforcement has made at least 66 arrests from CODIS hits related to at least 91 assaults, including kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder. The legislature has been an important partner in this work; funding in the state budget will help continue to test older kits and provide for additional State Crime Lab scientists to test new kits in a timely manner and prevent another backlog.

The Survivor Act mandates that law enforcement agencies notify the State Crime Lab within 15 days of an arrest or a conviction related to a CODIS hit identified through lab testing. This dashboard was made possible by federal funding through the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to get justice for victims and survivors of sexual assault:

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