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North Carolina sexual assault survivors will no longer pay for rape kits

Six years ago, 11,000 untested rape kits were found in an abandoned police storage unit in Detroit. The city is struggling to find funding to eliminate the backlog.
Cory Morse (MLive.com /Landov)
/
WHQR
Six years ago, 11,000 untested rape kits were found in an abandoned police storage unit in Detroit. The city is struggling to find funding to eliminate the backlog.

Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill into law earlier this week meant to help victims of rape and assault. The bill also expands the gathering of DNA samples for certain convictions.

House Bill 674 passed through the legislature almost unanimously earlier this year. It adds to the list of crimes that require convicts to provide a DNA sample, including stalking and assault on children, women, and people with disabilities.

The bill also prohibits medical facilities from billing the victim of a sexual assault for a rape kit. Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement upon signing the bill that "victims of sexual assault deserve access to a rape kit without being further victimized by being charged for it."

Instead, the state will pay those costs instead, through the Rape Victim Assistance Program, up to $1500.

Cooper added, "This new law will also strengthen the state’s DNA database used to catch criminals by including domestic violence and assault crimes."

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.