The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

State to create system to track rape kits

Sex-assault evidence sits untested in crime labs and police stations nationwide

- By Emilie Munson

HARTFORD — Connecticu­t will establish an electronic tracking system for sexual-assault collection kits, the General Assembly decided Wednesday.

“This is really a nationwide problem,” said state Rep. J.P. Sredzinski, RMonroe, a member of the Public Safety Committee. “There is a national backlog of rape kits that sit untested with very little follow through for whatever reason.”

The House voted unanimousl­y Wednesday afternoon to change state provisions around rape kits.

National data is not collected but according to advocates, thousands of these kits, containing DNA data that could solve sex crimes, sit untested in police stations and crime laboratori­es across the country. Connecticu­t’s new tracking system for these kits will be implemente­d by Oct. 1, the legislatio­n states.

The bill requires hospitals and other facilities that collect these kits to contact a sexual assault counselor on behalf of victims. It assigns the Commission on the Standardiz­ation of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigat­ions with developing policies to provide victims with updated informatio­n on their kits.

The House vote followed unanimous approval in the Senate on Monday. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expect-

ed to sign the bill into law. The legislatio­n is the result of the Sexual Assault Kit Working Group establishe­d by Malloy in 2016.

“The proper testing of these evidence kits is both a matter of justice for the

victim and a matter of public safety,” he said. “The evidence secured through the collection of DNA can eliminate or identify a suspect, identify someone with previous conviction­s, link cases, and identify serial rapists.”

 ?? Pat Sullivan / Associated Press file photo ?? Evidence of a sexual assault is collected and packaged.
Pat Sullivan / Associated Press file photo Evidence of a sexual assault is collected and packaged.

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