Amendment proposed to clear rape kit backlog

Jun. 13, 2012KPRC Local 2

Houston Council Member Ellen Cohen proposed a budget amendment to address the city’s rape kit backlog.

The rape kits, which have not been tested due to lack of resources, contain vital pieces of evidence that can be used to apprehend violent criminals.

The amendment, proposed Wednesday, will generate funding by imposing a $5 fee on operators of adult entertainment establishments based on their number of daily customers. It is anticipated that this will raise approximately $3 million per year.

“We have a problem, and this amendment is the solution,” said Cohen. “The survivors of sexual assault crimes deserve justice, and this proposal provides a practical avenue towards accomplishing that goal.”

Cohen served for 18 years as the chief executive officer of the Houston Area Women’s Center, which provides services for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.