Does Arizona law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Tracking of Rape Kits?
Testing of all backlogged rape kits?
Testing of all rape kits in the future?
Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?
Funding for testing kits?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Arizona is unknown. However, in 2016, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order requiring a one-time statewide audit, and establishing the Arizona Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force. That same year, the task force reported a total of 6,424 untested rape kits in storage at law enforcement agencies across the state. Of these, 4,367 are from Maricopa County. Arizona law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits.
In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested rape kits in Tucson to light. Through this request, and local media pressure, we uncovered a backlog of 1,849 untested kits in Tucson in 2015.
In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office awarded the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office $1,929,145 to test 2,300 rape kits; the Tempe Police Department $363,699 to test 500 rape kits; and the Tucson Police Department Crime Lab $1,038,000 to test 1,200 kits.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded Maricopa County $1,232,705 and the City of Phoenix Police Department $1,597,406 to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.
In 2016, Arizona legislators appropriated $500,000 in new funding for rape kit testing in FY17.
In 2017, Arizona legislators introduced several rape kit reform bills:
- H.B. 2268, which would require hospitals to notify law enforcement agencies within 24 hours of completing a rape kit exam, require law enforcement agencies to pick up kits within five days, and require law enforcement agencies to submit kits to the lab within 15 days of collection. The bill would also require law enforcement agencies and laboratories to report annually on kits collected and tested.
- S.B. 1355, which would grant sexual assault survivors key rights, including the right to have a rape kit collected, to have that kit retained for 20 years or the duration of the statute of limitations, to be informed of kit testing results, and to be informed in advance of planned kit destruction.
- H.B. 2455, which would appropriate an additional $1.2 million in one-time funding to the state crime lab to fund the testing of backlogged kits.
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