Shutdown could impact DC rape kit collections

4:16 PM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- One of the many unintended consequences if the government shutdown continues, is that rape kits could soon stop being administered in DC.

That's because the District's finances are tied to Congress.

WUSA9's Surae Chinn talked, by phone, with a 22-year-old woman who says she was raped. She says the horrible incident happened August 8, 2013 in the District.

"He was trying to seduce me. I was still saying no. Even my NO's didn't matter," the victim said.

A Forensic nurse immediately went to the hospital to administer a rape kit.

The rape victim says, "It basically proves without a shadow of a doubt he did have sex with me. His DNA is there. It proves it did happen and I'm not making it up."

DC's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program or SANE helped this woman after one of the worst days of her life. The organization sees on average one victim a day and at least 400 victims a year.

Jana Parrish, DC Forensic Nurse Examiner's Nursing Director says, "Their opportunity for justice could be greatly affected by the shutdown and their ability to get the closure they potentially need to continue living their life in a new normal after a sexual assault happens."

When a rape is reported SANE not only dispatches a forensic nurse but paid professional advocates.

Nikki Charles, Network for Victim Recovery of DC Co Executive Dir. says, "People often don't know where to turn and we provide the services they need."

The non-profits under SANE are running on either cash reserves or DC emergency funds, that will run out in a matter of weeks.

Charles says, "It makes me very nervous. Crime victims are at a very vulnerable state. They've been traumatized and had terrible things happen to them. People who have been through the lowest or one of the lowest points in their lives are going to have worse things happen because they can't access the services they need."

Parrish says, "To lose evidence in this way because services aren't going to be provided is going to be a problem."

DC SANE says, just today, they've seen two rape victims.

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