Better tracking of rape kits

By State Sen. Rich Taylor, Mt Pleasant (Senate District 42)

New tracking system will offer victims greater transparency and accountability

Victims of sexual assault will have more complete and timely information about their cases under a bill that has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Under SF 2376, the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division will develop an automated tracking system for sexual assault evidence kits. The system will allow victims, county attorneys and certain others to track the location and status of a kit.

Here’s how the system works:

The crime lab enters information on new, unused kits, and documents when a kit is sent to a health care provider. Within 48 hours of receiving a kit, the health care provider will log its receipt in the system. When victims of sexual assault consent to a forensic medical exam and to having the evidence preserved, the health care provider will contact law enforcement, who will collect and store the kit.

The location of the kit will be updated each step of the way, including when a kit is sent to the lab for testing and when results are complete. Victims will have decision-making ability throughout the process.

Iowa’s Victim Compensation Fund will pay for any health-care related costs for the exams and for the lab fee.