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State unveils system of tracking rape kits

Posted: 12:37 PM, Dec 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-05 12:37:54-05

LANSING, Mich. – Survivors of sexual assault in some Michigan counties will now be able to track their rape kit through the investigative process.

Governor Rick Snyder announced Wednesday the new system, which was a recommendation of the Governor’s Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Tracking and Reporting Commission.

The new system, called Track-Kit, was piloted in Calhoun County earlier this year. Last month, the program was rolled out in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.  The rest of the state will have access to the program by the summer of 2019.

The system is part of a response to the revelation of more than 11,000 untested rape kits being found in recent years in Detroit.

A sexual assault, or rape, kit is used by medical personnel for gathering and keeping physical evidence from a sexual assault victim. The kit often preserves DNA evidence that can be used by law enforcement in their investigation and by prosecutors in trying sexual assault suspects.

“This new system represents justice for survivors of sexual assault,” said Debi Cain, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Division of Victim Services and co-chair of the gubernatorial-appointed Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board in a press release. “An important piece of this system is that survivors of sexual assault can log in confidentially, see where their kit is in the system, and whether it has been tested and returned to law enforcement. They can assure themselves, at any time, day or night, that their kit has not been forgotten or lost.”

Kits collected before the system was implemented will not be accessible.  The kits will be tracked much like packages can be tracked from retailers to customers.

The state says the annual cost for the system, which includes licensing, web-hosting and support is about $700,000.

You can see more about the system at this link: www.michigan.gov/crimevictims .