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Clinical Director at the Cecil County, Md., Department of Social Services' Domestic Violence/Rape Crisis Center Anne Bean sits in her office. The center has used anonymous rape kits since 2004.

Anonymous Rape Tests To Be Made Available Nationwide

May 14, 2008 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Experts are hoping that the anonymous “Jane Doe rape kits” will encourage more victims to go through with the examinations after being attacked.

30-Second Summary

The new kits differ from those typically used to gather evidence in emergency rooms in that they are sealed, with only a number printed on the outside to identify the victim, and are only opened if the person decides to press charges.

Next year, all states will be required to pay for these tests in order to receive funding under the federal Violence Against Women Act, according to the Associated Press. The tests are already available in some clinics, hospitals and universities, including those in the state of Massachusetts.

Rape and sexual assault counselors say that the kits give women who are too scared or ashamed to go to the authorities the option of keeping police out of the proceedings until they are ready to press charges against their attacker.

“Sometimes the issue of actually having to make a report to police can be a barrier to victims, and this will allow that barrier to cease, to allow the victim to think about it before deciding whether to talk to police,” said Carey Goryl, executive director of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

On Tuesday, Maryland passed a law to expand the state’s DNA database by requiring police to collect samples from everyone arrested for a violent crime, instead of only convicted criminals. The campaign to expand the database was spearheaded by rape victim Laura Neuman.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to the police, although reporting has increased by one-third since 1993.

Headline Link: ‘Anonymous Rape Tests Are Going Nationwide’

Related Topics: Rape victim want to expand DNA database and the nurses who perform rape kits

Reference: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network


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