OKLAHOMA CITY — A nearly $2.4 million federal grant will allow Oklahoma to test hundreds of rape kits that have been sitting in evidence rooms across the state and to improve response to sexual assault crimes.

During the past couple of years, a task force of victim advocates, law enforcement officers and other stakeholders have been working to reform how sexual assaults are responded to in Oklahoma. An audit of more than 300 law enforcement agencies revealed more than 7,200 untested rape kits statewide.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance recently awarded the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant. The funding will support several initiatives, including processing some of the untested evidence kits and hiring a victim advocate, officials said.

“Kits are going to be tested, and we’ve taken steps to ensure that this backlog — this really regrettable backlog that was allowed to occur — won’t happen again,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said Friday.

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