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CONTACT 13: $4.35 million approved for sex assault test kit backlog

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 24, 2017

Key physical evidence from thousands of alleged sexual assaults in Nevada was never looked at for years according to state and local law enforcement.

Contact 13 has details about a new program to address the critical backlog.

For victims of sexual assault, collecting DNA evidence is a time consuming, invasive process usually done at a hospital. But for many, that secondary trauma was all-for-not. That's because, according to a state audit, for years, about 8,000 test kits were never processed. 

Now state leaders are coming up with the money needed so justice for victims will no longer be delayed. 

For several years now, Nevada has shipped thousands of test kits to out-of-state labs to chip away at the massive backlog, but the Attorney General's office says that's about to change.

Though out-sourcing will continue until the backlog is eliminated, Nevada lawmakers approved $3 million dollars to provide equipment and supplies to existing crime labs here in Nevada. Another $1,350,000 will come from non taxpayer settlement funds according to the AG's office. 

It's all part of a new initiative that mandates sex assault test kits be processed.

1700 kits from Southern Nevada are still awaiting testing. 

According to the AG's office, catching up with the backlog has led to 11 criminal prosecutions so far. 

The Attorney General's office tells us some of that money will go to hire several full time lab technicians. Six here in Las Vegas and three more up in Northern Nevada.