Contact Nell Kolbier – the Alliance’s Sexual Assault Kit Specialist – at firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to any questions regarding the status of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.
What is the Connecticut Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project?
In 2015 the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, launched the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project to address the growing numbers of sexual assault evidence collection kits that were not being tested throughout the U.S. Currently, the Bureau is funding this project in 38 states, with a total of 64 project sites. Through this grant program, Connecticut identified 1,188 collection kits that had not been tested for evidence that could aid in the successful arrest and prosecution of an assailant.
In compliance with the grant, Governor Dannell Malloy created the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Working Group, housed under the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. This multidisciplinary group is tasked with creating guidelines surrounding victim notifications for previously untested kits, supporting the investigations and prosecutions of previously untested kits, and ensuring that a backlog never happens again in the state of Connecticut. The Victim Notification Guidelines, created by this group, are now used collaboratively by state attorneys, victim advocates, and law enforcement to ensure a trauma-informed approach to notification.
What’s been done?
Testing on the 1,188 kits was completed towards the end of 2018. Regional meetings took place in order to train police officers, victim advocates, and states attorneys on the new Victim Notification Guidelines and Sexual Assault Kit Reform. There are currently collaborative meetings occurring across Connecticut to discuss cases and notify victims about new information that may have come up as a result of their kit being tested. In compliance with the continuation of the grant, The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is providing ongoing training to police departments and advocates with updated information, as well as testing all partially-tested kits and entering them into the National DNA Database (CODIS). Any new case information that results from CODIS hits is reviewed to determine if the case may be able to move forward. If it can move forward, a victim notification is necessary.
How do we prevent future backlogs?
Progressive kit reform changes were driven by The Alliance, in collaboration with the SAKIWG, and were adopted by the General Assembly in 2015 and 2018.
Public Act 15-207 requires police departments to transfer all sexual assault evidence collection kits to the State Crime Lab within 10 days and requires the Lab to test all kits, unless indicated anonymous, within 60 days.
Public Act 18-83 requires that 1) all sexual assault evidence collection kits be given a barcode to be used for tracking kits with UPS software, 2) all individuals choosing to have a kit performed be given the ability to obtain information regarding the analysis of their kit, 3) that hospital staff is trained on utilizing tracking software, and 4) that hospitals call certified sexual assault advocates upon a victim going to the hospital to have a kit performed.
The statute of limitations for my case ended several years ago. How will my kit being tested now help me?
While your statute of limitations may appear to be over, if new information is discovered when your kit is tested and analyzed, it’s possible that the case may still be able to move forward. As the cases are tested, they are analyzed to determine if the case is able to move forward. If a case is eligible, an advocate will notify you with that information.
Is there a way to check where my kit is now?
Yes! Thanks to Public Act 18-83, UPS tracking software now allows you to track your own kit. During your time at the hospital you should have received a piece of paper containing your tracking number and step-by-step instructions on how to create your login.
I lost the instructions to my log-in, what do I do now?
The detective working with you should be able to give you your tracking number. Once obtained, follow these step-by-step instructions: