SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved $600,000 in funding to process a backlog of 200 rape kits by July 2019.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez led the push for funding and has proposed cutting the time for processing each kit from 94 days to 30 days.
A rape kit, or sexual assault kit, is a voluntary exam for victims directly after an attack occurs. The process can take up to six hours and collects DNA evidence from the victim’s clothing and body.
“Testing these kits in a timely fashion is the most obvious way to demonstrate respect for these survivors,” Chavez said in a statement.
The funding will also go toward hiring two more criminalists in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, according to Chavez’s office.
A bill in the California Senate and one in the Assembly are also pushing for streamlined rape kit testing.
Senate Bill 1449 will mandate that new rape kits are submitted to law enforcement within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after they’re received, and Assembly Bill 3118 will require an audit to determine how many rape kits are untested in California.
Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, introduced the pieces of legislation on Feb 16.
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