Bipartisan House Resolution Encourages Sexual Assault Kit Reform

A bipartisan group of representatives has introduced a House Resolution to encourage state legislatures to support sexual assault kit reform legislation to ensure the collection and timely testing of sexual assault kits—sometimes called “Rape Kits.” Part of the resolution will be to make sure sexual assault victims have the right to a sexual assault advocate and the ability to track their sexual assault kit results.

"At least 100,000 rape kits remain untested across the country, and each one represents a survivor who deserves justice,” said Jodi Omear, vice president of communications for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. "We’re grateful to Rep. Joyce and Reps. Turner, Boyle, Speier, Kuster, Katko, Balderson and Wasserman Schultz for their leadership and for the effect this bill will have in encouraging state policymakers to pass legislation eliminating the sexual assault kit backlog."

Key provisions in the House Sexual Assault Kit Resolution include:

  • Ensure that victims have access to sexual assault advocates during and after sexual assault forensic exams.
  • Collaborate at the state and local levels with sexual assault advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, law enforcement, and others to help ensure survivors get the best care.
  • Ensure victims are informed of their rights and the results of their sexual assault forensic exam in a trauma-informed manner.
  • Conduct an annual statewide audit of inventories of sexual assault kits in each state.
  • Ensure new or previously untested sexual assault kits to a laboratory and test within a mandated time frame.
  • Establish a state funding source for issues related to unsubmitted or untested sexual assault kits.

“The collection, testing, and retention of these kits is essential to law enforcement and prosecutors abilities to ultimately hold more perpetrators accountable,” Omear added. “We hope that this resolution provides a framework for states to develop legislation that ensures that they are doing the utmost to eliminate their state’s sexual assault kit backlogs and give all victims an equal chance for justice.”