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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A group of engineers are using their technology to help end the backlog of rape kits — with an app.
In the U.S., nearly 63 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual violence. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape says that includes sexual assault and rape.
“The process is the victim goes to the hospital, and her body basically is a crime scene. To have this rape kit constructed or made with the idea of doing some DNA analysis on it and hopefully arresting the perpetrator or whoever committed that crime, but unfortunately, the reality is quite different,” app creator Samir Panthi said.
Panthi is one of three creators of the NowtRKit app in Alabama.
The app tracks rape kits from hospital rooms to laboratories to police and prosecution storage facilities.
“It gives the overall snapshot of the movement of rape kits at any given time,” Panthi said. “We don’t capture any personal information of the victim. It works completely off of the serial number of the rape kit.”
Panthi says there are more than 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States. He says the app will help both victims and law enforcement be proactive.
“A victim who is waiting for justice sees that their kit has not even moved or nothing has been done for 6 months to a year…” Panthi said. “There’s a threshold that people run out of patience, so they go to knock on the right door to see what needs to be done.”
The app is only being used in focus groups right now, but Panthi hopes the app will eventually be a tool used by law enforcement agencies.