I-Team 8

Indianapolis hopes to address backlog of 6,600 sexual assault kits

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal grant and a better way to analyze DNA is allowing Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to address a backlog of 6,600 sexual assault kits, some dating back to 1995, IMPD says.

Jane French, IMPD coordinator of the Indianapolis Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, understands many “survivors” in Marion County have waited decades for answers. New technology is allowing IMPD to better match sexual assault kits with a database with perpetrators.

“The technology was not terrific. The DNA technology has come a long way,” French said.

French says sexual assault kits are free, and IMPD wants to do everything they can to help survivors find justice and peace.

“We we who are not experiencing the sexual assault need to talk about it for them.” 

According to the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, 1 in 5 Hoosiers have been or will be sexually assaulted. Of those cases, 85% go unreported.

Beth White, chief executive officer of the Indiana coalition, says, “We are fourth in the country for high school girls who are raped while they’re in high school.”

White celebrated the work of 13 rape crisis centers on Thursday, but noted a lot of work needs to be done. She says the issue of sexual assault ends up leading into a bigger problem of human trafficking.

“A lot of people feel like sex trafficking is what you see in the movies. It’s the the teenage high school girl standing on the street corner snatched into a van.. No. How human trafficking in Indiana is in community by community,” White said. “Then it becomes a sense of inevitability, that there are no other options. That this is just something that is a part of a young person’s life.” 

Sexual assault resources

These resources were provided by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.