Untested rape kits involve thousands of potential child victims - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Untested rape kits involve thousands of potential child victims

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Newly released data shows untested rape kits in Wisconsin include hundreds of kits involving potential child victims.

The data from the Wisconsin Department of Justice was first reported by USA Today.

State officials are using a $4 million federal grant to address a backlog of kits originally identified as six thousand in number.    Attorney General Brad Schimel and other law enforcement leaders have emphasized the reason for untested kits often include a victim's unwillingness to cooperate with officers and prosecutors, or the apprehension of the offender responsible.

Yet the just-released numbers on one category of untested kits is jarring.

Of the untested kit total, the state data shows more than two thousand of those kits involve possible child victims, or one-in-three untested rape kits.

And of those kits, one-in-seven involve possible child victims under the age of ten.

In Madison, the Rape Crisis Center's Jaimie Sathasivam says some of the kits may be stored away because children are reporting the events.

"Their stories tend to be contradicted, or believed a little bit less, because people tend to believe they make up fantasies, or that they are dreaming up stories that may have happened, or something small might have happened, and they might be spiteful,"  Sathasivam says.  But she says research shows the majority of child reporters are truthful.

In a response to 27 News, Schimel's spokesperson Johnny Koremenos focuses on results, not languishing test kits connected to children.

"Because of his leadership, we are now testing previously unsubmitted kits that accumulated over decades,"  Koremenos says.

Sathasivam says she has more concerns over the sheer number of children needing help because of possible sexual violence.

In 2016, of over four hundred clients receiving advocacy at the Rape Crisis Center, ninety-two were teenagers,  and one hundred five were under thirteen.

"So it's kind of a shocking statistic for most people, but for us, it's unfortunately become kind of normal from year to year,"  Sathasivam says.

Sathasivam notes over the past eighteen months, any report of a child victim of possible sexual violence with the involvement of a medical appointment with a sexual assault nurse examiner leads to an automatic submission of the rape test kit.


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