California launches web site to trace outcomes of rape kits after police backlogs


California on Tuesday launched a web site that permits victims of sexual assault to trace the standing of the outcomes of their medical exams — an effort to deal with widespread complaints about wait instances because of backlogged circumstances at native police departments.

The on-line portal, hosted by the California Division of Justice, permits victims to seek for outcomes of rape kits accomplished after 2018.

Sexual assault forensic exams are accomplished in hospitals and despatched to native regulation enforcement departments, that are tasked with linking DNA to perpetrators. However in California and nationwide, the proof has sat on cabinets at police and sheriff’s departments, in some circumstances going untested for years.

Practically 14,000 sexual assault examination kits remained untested in California as of 2020, in line with a report by the state lawyer basic.

Simply final month, a lawyer for a lady who accused three former San Diego State soccer gamers of gang-raping her at a celebration final 12 months sued the town, demanding extra data, together with DNA outcomes, from police almost a 12 months after her rape examination had been carried out.

The brand new state web site is a results of laws authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), signed into regulation final 12 months by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

SB 215 requires the state to permit victims to test the standing and site of their exams “privately, securely and electronically.”

Proponents of the invoice, together with the Alameda County district lawyer’s workplace, mentioned the method of monitoring rape kits has been “cumbersome and never personal,” requiring victims to contact regulation enforcement through cellphone or in individual.

“After they’ve already been sexually assaulted — and after they’ve bravely endured an extended and invasive rape equipment examination — it’s essential that we allow survivors to trace the standing of their rape equipment securely at any time when they want,” Leyva mentioned.

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, who’s up for reelection subsequent week, mentioned in a press release Tuesday that the brand new web site, in addition to a state-appointed coordinator of this system, will assist clear native backlogs and “guarantee well timed processing” of proof.

“My workplace is dedicated to doing every thing in our energy to help survivors, scale back hurt and safe justice,” Bonta mentioned. “That’s precisely what the brand new actions we’re asserting right this moment are all about — rising entry to the knowledge to which survivors are entitled below the regulation and supporting our native companions of their efforts to course of sexual assault proof.”

Bonta’s workplace mentioned the location is safe, as customers should have a equipment quantity to entry information.

“As a safeguard in opposition to potential misuse,” the portal supplies solely the placement of the equipment and its standing within the assortment course of — not personally identifiable data of victims, Bonta mentioned.

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