Oklahoma Receives $2.4 Million Federal Grant To Test Rape Kits
OKLAHOMA CITY - The state of Oklahoma has received a $2.4 million federal grant to help pay for the testing of thousands of rape kits.
According to Attorney General Mike Hunter, the money should be enough to help the state’s efforts in reducing the backlog.
In Oklahoma, there are approximately 7,000 untested rape kits statewide. Up until now, there wasn't enough money to make much of a dent in that backlog and the unsolved cases they represent.
“It’s just been a work in progress and just like anything in life, once you get going and get that momentum it just snowballs,” said Danielle Tudor, a rape survivor and advocate.
Tudor helped spearhead the effort to get the grant.
“This definitely is giving us another boost in the arm to be able to tackle this problem and never be in this position again as a state,” she said.
New state laws passed this year mandate rape kits are tracked and are handed over to labs quickly. The Justice Department grant will go to the OSBI over a three-year period to fund four positions and overtime.
“I think with existing funds and this grant, we are going to be able to get every kit tested that is required to be tested by state law,” said AG Hunter.
One of those new people will work with victims. Tudor said she hopes this money will finally bring answers to hundreds of women.
“I think the best thing we can hope for is for many, it will bring closure and hopefully it will help them feel like they were believed, and their story mattered,” said Tudor.
Tudor said it can be hard for victims when a case is solved years after it was committed. So, she would like to see a compensation fund to help victims.