The 42-page report, “‘I Used to Think the Law Would Protect Me’: Illinois’s Failure to Test Rape Kits,” collected comprehensive testing data from 127 of 264 jurisdictions in Illinois and found that only 1,474 of 7,494 sets of physical evidence, known as “rape kits,” booked into evidence since 1995 could be confirmed as tested. That suggests 80 percent of rape kits may never have been examined in the state.
The report found the backlog symptomatic of an overall failure by the Illinois criminal justice system to respond adequately to sexual assault crimes. Several major jurisdictions completely ignored Human Rights Watch’s record requests. Illinois’s inadequate response to sexual assault is reflected in its 11 percent arrest rate for sexual assault – one of the lowest in the nation and far below the national average of 22 percent.