Washington, D.C. —Tonight, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) released the following statement on the passage of the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4323). The Debbie Smith Act protects victims of rape and sexual assault and helps go after criminals by extending a federal grant program for state and local governments to reduce the backlog of DNA kits. H.R. 4323 extends the Debbie Smith Act through the year 2019.

“Roughly every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. Tonight, the House voted to extend the Debbie Smith Act, which both protects victims of sexual assault and goes after perpetrators.  This legislation also includes language from Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013, which addresses the widespread problem of rape kit backlogs. Currently, an estimated 400,000 rape kits sit untested in labs and on police storage shelves across the nation, each one of them holding the potential to solve a crime, imprison a rapist and provide a victim with the justice they deserve. Victims of violent crime should not live in fear and be denied justice while their attackers go about their everyday lives because of a bureaucratic backlog. It is unconscionable to let evidence sit on dusty shelves in storage facilities when it could be used to put perpetrators where they belong: behind bars.”