Login

Not a member? Sign up here.

Rape Kit and Grope Laws Pass

Senate Bill 22 Mandates Rape Kits Be Sent to Labs Within 20 Days of Collection, Processed Within 120 Days

Evidence collected when a sexual assault is reported is processed expeditiously in Santa Barbara County, according to the Bureau of Forensic Services run by the state Department of Justice. Of the 174 rape kits sent in 2018, all are processed, as were all sent in previous years. Not all sexual assaults result in a rape kit, however. In Santa Barbara County, 229 rapes were reported last year, and 257 the year before. Survivors may decline the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam if they wish, explained Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Raquel Zick.

Not all California law enforcement agencies are as speedy, said Chino’s State Senator Connie M. Leyva, whose Senate Bill 22 (SB 22) mandates that rape kits will be sent to labs within 20 days of collection; labs have 120 days to process them. Leyva’s office stated, “The swift testing of DNA evidence in rape kits can help identify an unknown assailant, link crimes together, identify serial perpetrators, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted.” More than 13,600 rape kits go untested in the state, according to End the Backlog, which supported SB 22.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law earlier in October, which follows a 2018 bill that requires all crime labs to audit any backlog of untested rape kits. The numbers are being compiled by the DOJ, its press office stated. Also among the 870 new laws Newsom signed this year was Leyva’s SB 71, which prohibits lawmakers from using campaign funds or legal defense funds to defend against or pay penalties resulting from sexual assault. Four men in the California Legislature faced such charges as of 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Login

Not a member? Sign up here.