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Law & Justice

Idaho Releases First Report On Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System

Rick Bowmer
AP Images
Sexual assault evidence collection kit are shown during a committee meeting at the Utah State Capitol in 2017. The year before, Idaho took up the backlog in the Gem State to track and process kits with more accountablity.

Last year, Idaho became the first state to track sexual assault investigation kits – making sure the kits are tested and processed according to state law. The Idaho State Police released the 2017 report to the state legislature last Friday.

The change came after it was discovered that some kits weren’t being tested, which is necessary for criminal rape cases to proceed. Democratic State representative Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) led the initiative to make sure kits are retained by labs and processed in a timely manner.

In a press release, the state’s forensic lab director says the first year of the tracking system has gone a long way in creating transparency and accountability for victims. In total there were 456 sexual assault kits collected in 2017, and 316 kits were tested by the lab. Some previously unprocessed kits from years past were also sent to be tested. The remaining untested kits will be submitted to the lab by the end of this year, according to officials.

The state police report recommends a sexual assault response coordinator to train law enforcement and medical staff statewide.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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