PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Washington State’s significant backlog of untested sexual assault kits has officially been cleared, officials say.
On Thursday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined leaders to announce the end of the backlog, roughly four years after the state passed legislation to combat the issue.
Back in 2014, there were an estimated 10,000+ rape kits that were not tested, some of which dated back decades. The state began requiring all sexual assault test kits to be processed within 45 days in 2019.
In 2018, Washington created a new system that allowed sexual assault victims to track their own test kits using a barcode. Officials previously sold KOIN 6 that the state was sending 200-300 kits out for testing every month. To speed up that process, a brand new DNA lab was also built within the crime lab in Vancouver with staff dedicated to testing those backlogged kits.
Oregon finished testing their backlogged rape kits in 2018 by sending about 3,000 untested kits from more than a dozen counties to a lab in Salt Lake City for testing – offering some relief to the Oregon State Police crime lab.