White House sets funds to fight violence against women on campus in 2015 budget

Ally Mutnick, Campus Editor

The 2015 fiscal year budget will allocate $11 million to fight violent crimes against women on campus, the White House announced Wednesday. 

The budget will also provide funds to test backlogged rape kits and help prosecute sexual assault cases. 

The announcement comes more than a month after President Barack Obama created a new White House task force to address sexual assault that occurs on college campuses.

The 2015 budget also allocates $423 million to various initiatives that combat violence against women. Of the funds, $193 million will go to the STOP Violence Against Women Grant Program, which helps coordinate efforts of victim advocates, law enforcement and the courts to address sexual assault.

Legal services for survivors and the Sexual Assault Services Program, which works to assist sexual assault survivors by providing funding to different organizations and regions, will also receive funding. 

In the release, the White House identified reducing the number of women who are sexually assaulted as “a critical priority.” 

The budget also includes $35 million to establish a new grant program that will test rape kits and create “cold case” units to pursue leads on rape cases. Funds will also be used for research to develop evidence tracking systems.

Many rape kits remained untested, but when backlogged kits are examined, their results help create a criminal database and lead to more arrests and help law enforcement identify serial rapists, the White House said in a news release. 

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