- Posted by The Rape Crisis Center
- On March 15, 2017
SAN ANTONIO – A state lawmaker wants to use crowdfunding to help end the rape kit backlog.
But instead of using a site like GoFundMe, Texans would have the option to donate during the driver licensing process.
“Rape Crisis Center hotline,” says an operator answering the phone at nonprofit’s main office on San Antonio’s northwest side.
From the first phone call, the staff there helps sexual assault victims get through the painful journey.
“A lot of times when we meet them at the hospital, they’re numb. They’re in shock,” says deputy director Deana Franks. “Part of that is processing that kit. I feel that it shows that we believe something happened to them.”
To test those kits, the state is setting aside $4.29 million in the next budget. But a Dallas-area lawmaker says it’s not enough.
“That funding does not cover the gap because we have a huge rape kit backlog of thousands and thousands of untested rape kits,” says State Rep. Victoria Neave (D – Mesquite).
She proposes that when you apply for or renew your driver license, you would have the option to donate a dollar or more.
“It would be completely voluntary,” State Rep. Neave says.
She says the program would generate a million dollars a year to help eliminate the backlog.
“We owe it to them as a state to make sure we get those rape kits tested,” State Rep. Neave says.
Here in San Antonio, police say they’ve addressed the problem by strictly following state guidelines.
“It requires our investigators to submit those kits within 30 days,” says Ofc. Doug Greene with the San Antonio Police Department.
But across Texas, the backlog remains a barrier to justice. That’s why the Rape Crisis Center is all for crowdfunding.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” Franks says. “Anything we can do to ensure that kit goes all the way through and is processed is a big deal.”
Lawmakers have until June to vote on the proposal.
By Emily Baucum, News 4 San Antonio