WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) released the following statement after President Trump signed the reauthorization of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act into law. The SAFER Act reauthorizes, strengthens, and extends the Sexual Assault Forensic Reporting program to help fight the nationwide rape kit backlog. The original law and reauthorization were both led by Congressman Poe in the House.
“Victims of rape must be given the ability to pursue justice against their attackers,” said Congressman Poe. “Unfortunately, thousands of victims across the country are denied this opportunity each day. Reducing the national rape kit backlog will help protect victims of crime and give victims the justice they deserve.”
Congressman Poe and Senator Cornyn sponsored the Sexual Assault Forensic Reporting Act, 2013 legislation creating the SAFER program, which has helped law enforcement reduce the rape kit backlog through existing funds under the Debbie Smith Act. Now law, SAFER increased the money that would be spent on untested rape kits by 35 percent and mandated that 5-7 percent be used for SAFER program audits. It helps state and local law enforcement agencies address both the laboratory and storage backlogs by providing funding to conduct one-year audits of untested sexual assault evidence, which has uncovered tens of thousands of untested rape kits that sit on shelves and in labs across the nation.