SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - For the past few years, WTOC has been investigating the backlog of rape kits waiting to be tested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Back in 2015 more than 1,300 untested sexual assault kits were found in a storage room at an Atlanta hospital.
Those kits, along with thousands of others sitting in GBI testing labs, contributed to the state's backlog of more than 10,000 kits, with some dating as far back as 1999.
In 2016, state lawmakers passed new legislation requiring that DNA evidence collected from sexual assault victims get into the hands of forensic analysts faster.
With that law taking effect nearly a year ago, progress has been made. Earlier this month, the GBI reported the backlog is down by two thirds from nearly 10,000 untested rape kits in 2016 to less than 2,500 today.
Help is on the way, as the new GBI lab being built in Pooler will help alleviate backlogs, but the lab itself is still probably a year away from opening.
After waiting years to get results, many of the victims decide not to pursue charges even after arrests are made. Too much time has passed, and they don't want to have to relive their ordeal all over again.
Consider this: We must stop re-victimizing these victims.
More money needs to be allocated to hire more scientists to get to work now on this backlog of cases and to stay on top of the nearly 250 new ones that are sent to the GBI every month.
Victims need to know that the law enforcement is on their side and doing all they can to make sure they are getting the justice they deserve.