New bill would allow rape victims to track assault kits online

New bill would allow rape victims to track assault kits online
The new bill would allow victims of sexual assault the ability to see what step their kit is on in the chain of evidence.

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A new bill presented in the 2019 Legislative Session would allow victims of rape and sexual assaults the ability to track their assault kits online.

“We have made great strides with past legislation, and Senate Bill 97 is the next step to help assault victims get justice,” said Senator Denise Harper Angel. “These victims deserve to know the whereabouts and outcomes of their evidence kits at all times. We live in a time with the capabilities to track online purchases. We should use that same technology to allow a victim to track important evidence online – anonymously using their serial number.”

SB 97, co-sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, would create and implement an online tracking process for the forensic evidence kits. The legislation would also establish a public portal to allow victims to anonymously access the system and provide information to the Kentucky State Police.

Senators Whitney Westerfield (left) and Denise Harper Angel (right).
Senators Whitney Westerfield (left) and Denise Harper Angel (right). (Source: LRC Public Information Office)

“This legislation is the next important step following 2016’s SAFE Act, and continues Kentucky’s progress in empowering survivors of sexual assault,” said Senator Westerfield, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I’m glad to work once again with Senator Harper Angel to improve and modernize how Kentucky handles these cases, each of which directly impacts the lives of victims. We saw we could do better, so we are.”

KSP is currently working on a program that would allow victims to see the progress of their evidence kit from collection through the analysis process.

Senator Harper Angel’s measure would allow a victim of sexual assault, to go to a website, enter the kit number (or serial number) to see:

  • When the kit was picked up from the hospital;
  • Which law enforcement agency picked up the kit;
  • When the kit was received at the lab;
  • When the report was completed for identification of semen and/or saliva;
  • When DNA testing on positive serology testing was completed;
  • If a DNA profile was obtained from the evidence and when the profile is entered into the DNA database, and
  • If there has been a hit yet with the National Data Base

If a victim chooses not to report the assault, she can use the website to see where her kit is being stored and the date it is eligible for destruction. The site will also provide such information and resources as links to the Kentucky rape crisis centers, how to report the assault, in the event she decides to report the assault and wants the kit tested.

The site will further explain lab testing, positive versus negative serology screen, the DNA database, and the types of matches that can occur.

SB 97 will be taken up during the 2019 Legislative Session.

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