U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Shelving Justice: The Discovery of Thousands of Untested Rape Kits in Detroit

NCJ Number
City and Community Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2015 Pages: 151-166
Date Published
June 2015
16 pages
This study drew upon qualitative interviews with Detroit stakeholders, archival records, and ethnographic observations to examine the events surrounding the discovery of 11,000 rape kits in a Detroit Police Department storage facility in August 2009, the majority of which had never been tested for DNA evidence, and why police personnel did not view the accumulation of so many untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) as a problem.

To address this problem, a multidisciplinary action research project was formed to bring together researchers and practitioners from law enforcement, prosecution, forensic sciences, medicine/nursing, and victim advocacy to develop evidence-based response strategies. Over the course of this three-year action research project, Detroit stakeholders worked together to enact local- and State-level reforms to test these kits and to prevent this problem from happening again. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2015