MWC Calls on State Law Enforcement Agencies to Review Rape Kit Retention and Destruction Policies

Contact: Todd Heywood - HeywoodT@michigan.gov
Agency: Civil Rights

December 5, 2018

Lansing, MI–On Nov. 29, CNN released an investigative report regarding the destruction of rape kits before law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings had been completed. According to CNN, 25 police agencies in 14 states, including Michigan, had destroyed rape kits in 400 cases since 2010.

Michigan Women’s Commission Executive Director Mary Engelman issued the following statement regarding CNN’s findings and Lapeer’s actions to remedy the identified concerns.

“It is disheartening to read, once again, that justice is being denied to women who have been victimized by sexual assault after having the courage to stand up and report this violation to law enforcement. The early destruction of evidence kits is for all practical purposes the elimination of hope for survivors. Without this valuable evidence, our justice system cannot hold those who commit these crimes accountable, nor can survivors receive the justice so necessary to the healing process. We are supportive of the Lapeer Police Department’s efforts to address insufficiencies identified by the CNN investigation and call on every law enforcement agency in the state to review all relevant policies and procedures to assure survivors maintain the opportunity to pursue justice in our courts. “

The 15-member Michigan Women's Commission continuously evaluates complex issues for Michigan women and addresses them. Members have taken an active role in improving the lives of Michiganders and have recommended ways to overcome discrimination, provide support for female veterans, help fight human trafficking/sexual assault, promote equitable leadership and girls in STEM. 

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