Cuyahoga County

Rape Kit Testing is Well Worth the Cost


CLEVELAND, Ohio – When it comes to testing sexual assault kits, it's near-impossible to put a dollar value on the trauma rape victims experience.

Across the nation, though, there's still an ongoing debate about whether rape kit testing is worth the millions it will cost some cities and states.

The answer, based on an analysis of Cuyahoga County's Sexual Assault Kit initiative, is an overwhelming yes.

The milestone 500th indicted rape suspect cements Cuyahoga County's place as a national leader in responding to a rape kit backlog of thousands.

"The cost of testing and investigating is minuscule when compared to the cost to victim and to the cost to getting the offenders off the street," said Rachel Lovell, a researcher with the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University.

Lovell, along with Begun Center Director Dan Flannery and Mendel Singer, the university's cost effectiveness and public health expert, dissected the costs and projected what return leaders might see for the estimated $9.6 million that will be spent to DNA test and re-investigate the older rape kit cases.

Singer said cost effectiveness and savings are often important to elected leaders and officials because though there are many worthy cases, the government has a fixed amount of money to spend. "It all becomes a trade off at some point, there are a lot of worthy causes," he said.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office, separately from the Begun Center report, found that just the 500 indicted defendants have cost the county more than $347 million.

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