INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – State leaders have announced a plan to launch a statewide service for tracking rape kits after lawmakers asked the Indiana Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Council to study its feasibility.
In a report released late Friday, the plan would expand an already operating web-based system that is used to enter sexual assault exam data. The program would now allow victims, medical, laboratory and law enforcement staff to track the progress of a specific rape kit through a unique claim number and PIN.
"It's transparency," Devon McDonald said, the executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. "More knowledge to them, makes them feel included."
State official anticipate the program will be fully operational by the end of 2019 and at no additional cost to Indiana taxpayers. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute will absorb maintenance costs and pay the estimated $350,000 startup through existing funds.
"If you're a victim, this is a huge deal to you," State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) said. "It's a difficult subject matter. And oftentimes the witnesses are hard to track down and so these could be challenging circumstances to investigate. The bottom line, this is the right thing to do for victims."
Sexual assault victims would be able to track the following:
- When a rape kit has been collected
- When the kit has been submitted for testing
- When analysis of the kit is complete
- If the kit was destroyed after the one-year waiting period
A year ago state lawmakers and law enforcement leaders released the first-ever statewide audit of kits showing a "net" number of untested kits as 2,560, in some cases even pointing out that the number was lower than expected.