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
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.”