SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- The Missouri Attorney General's Office is auditing how many untested rape kits exist in state custody there are in Missouri. It comes following a report showing the state has never done a statewide review of untested rape kits, so the number of unprocessed kits is unknown.
Rape kits are a series of DNA samples taken immediately after an attack -- and can be used by law enforcement and prosecutors to catch and convict rapists. Attorney General Josh Hawley says kits left untested can hinder those efforts.
Here in the Ozarks, Springfield's Victim Center hopes Hawley's audit will shed light on a problem they see a lot. It says the backlog and subsequent waiting for rape kits to be tested can make victims even more reluctant or even stop them from reporting rapes altogether.
The Victim Center hopes this audit will be the beginning of fixing the system.
"What we might learn is that we need more resources allocated or perhaps there are bottlenecks in the system that need to be addressed...the bottom line is that we need to focus on these issues because it does impact individual lives at our community level," said Executive Director of the Victim Center, Brandi Bartel.