Grant will help Dallas County test a backlog of rape kits

A grant will make it possible for Dallas County to test thousands of backlogged rape kits and combat a crime that's on the rise.

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk said her office is expanding its sexual assault unit with the funding provided to the Dallas Police Department.

There are currently more than 4,000 rape kits that are just sitting, waiting to be processed. Meanwhile, sexual assault cases are up this year by almost 38 percent.

"Thank goodness for the funding that we now have available to do this. I can't imagine. A woman who has been a victim of such a horrific crime tells the police and then they've been waiting, and just waiting for justice to be served. It's terrible," Hawk said.

She expects to start test about 65 kits per week and projects a suspect will be identified in about 25 percent of the cases.

Even when there isn't an immediate match, all DNA is entered into a system and if a suspect is arrested again they could be identified.

Hawk hopes the results will also lead to some solved cold cases.

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