92% of sexual assault kits left unprocessed, rapists roam free

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Protesters hold signs as they take part in a march against gender based violence and in solidarity with women who have been subject to violence and in memory of those who have been killed, at the North Beach in Durban, on September 7, 2019. - The Crime Against Women in South Africa Report released by Statistics South Africa (SA) shows that femicide is 5 times higher than the global average. President Cyril Ramaphosa will propose to cabinet that all crimes against women and children attract harsher minimum sentences. (Photo by Rajesh JANTILAL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Forensic Science Laboratories (NFLS) has ground to a near halt with over 125 000 cases still not processed.

This was the sentiment of the pressure group Action Society, which is calling on the government to empower civil society organisations to assist in addressing the inefficiencies in the DNA testing and investigation processes to accelerate the prosecution of sexual offenders.

Credit: Yolanda Kritz

The group says that 92% of sexual assault kits have not been processed, which enables rapists to roam free. According to Action Society spokesperson Daleen Gouws, the first 48 hours of a case are the most critical, and that the government assists communities to run self-managed testing labs and use private detectives in order to fast-track findings and analyse DNA information.

Fight Back SA founding director Nicole Mirkin states that the lack of governmental procedures have failed the women and children of South Africa.

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October 17, 2021
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