Bill Requiring Rape Kits to be Tested Passes State Senate
A bill was approved last night by the California State Senate that will require the testing of all rape kits in counties where fewer than 12% of forcible rape cases result in arrests, reports the Pasadena Star News. The bill would also require that police and other law officials report back to the Department of Justice regarding how many rape kits they collect, how many are tested and how many are from incidents of rape by a stranger.
Used by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, rape kits provide tools to collect physical evidence from the victim's body and clothing after a sexual assault. According to the Human Rights Watch, as of 2009 California had the largest backlog of untested rape kits in the country -- kits that had been collected from victims, but were sitting on shelves without being opened or processed.
The News reports that state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, who authored the bill, had this to say:
"I want to ensure that California does everything it can to arrest and prosecute rapists," Poratino said. "It's unconscionable that thousands of rape kits remain unopened and untested across California. Rape kits hold vital evidence that is crucial to a criminal conviction."