There is a scandalous backlog of rape kits in the United States. After someone is sexually assaulted, the police will ask her to voluntarily undergo a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (also called a SANE or a rape kit).
... Swabs are taken of the victim’s mouth, vagina, thighs and anus; clothing is collected; photos are taken; hairs are plucked from the head and pubic area. It is a long and unhappy process, but crucial to collect forensic evidence like semen, saliva, blood, and hairs which may contain DNA and other evidence.
In many cities, though, there’s a ridiculous backlog of rape kits sitting in warehouses, gathering dust. It’s estimated that 400,000 kits in America remain untested. Some cities are doing better than others – New York has no backlog, while Detroit has 16,000 untested rapes kits. DNA testing today is incredible, with the power to definitively solve crimes like never before. We have a national databank of DNA called CODIS, which holds the DNA profiles of eight million convicted criminals – but it’s only a useful tool if we actually compare these to evidence taken from unsolved rapes. The failure to process the backlog of sex kits – which could help solve countless brutal crimes – is a national tragedy.