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NY Senate, Assembly pass bill to establish rape kit tracking system

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The New York State Senate and Assembly have passed a bill sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Amy Paulin.

According to a statement on Tuesday June 7, 2022, the bill is aimed at establishing a rape kit tracking system.

The bill would direct the Division of Criminal Justice Services in consultation with the Department of Health, Office of Victim Services, Division of State Police, and the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Abuse to develop and implement a statewide electronic tracking system for evidence collection kits used to collect and preserve evidence of a sexual assault or other sex offense.

“Unfortunately, it is extremely common for survivors to leave the hospital after a sexual assault and receive no information about the status of their rape kits.

“Survivors who do seek out updates report facing additional trauma, victim blaming, and contempt when they follow up with law enforcement,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

Biaggi added, “By establishing a rape kit tracking system, we will restore agency to survivors and allow them to access information about the status of their rape kit if and when they are ready.

“A rape kit tracking system will provide survivors with a sense of control and self-determination and serve as a crucial tool in holding hospitals, law enforcement, and state labs accountable for timely processing.

“I would like to thank Assemblymember Paulin and my Legislative colleagues for their support in passing this critical legislation, and look forward to it being signed into law.”

Also speaking about the bill, Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “Instituting a sexual assault kit tracking system is a critical step in bringing justice to survivors.”

She added, “This access can empower survivors and counter the loss of self-determination and control that is often at the core of a sexual assault experience. I’m pleased that this legislation has passed in the Legislature and thank State Senator Alessandra Biaggi for being a staunch advocate for women and bringing this bill to passage in the Senate.

“Victims of sexual assault have already gone through enough and should have the ability to access their information – a potentially key step in their healing process.”

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