We do not know the extent of the backlog in California—there is only information about the backlog at the local level, which you can see below. Like most states, California does not require its law enforcement agencies to track or count rape kits. In fact, just three states do—Colorado, Illinois and Texas—and because of the reforms these states have implemented, we now have a more accurate picture of the backlog there. This can happen in California, too. Take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.
On January 15, 2014, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner introduced legislation that would amend California's Sexual Assault Victims' DNA Bill of Rights in an effort to prevent future backlogs. The bill encourages law enforcement agencies to submit newly collected rape kits for testing as soon as possible, but no later than five days after being booked into evidence. The bill also instructs the crime lab to process rape kit evidence as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after law enforcement submits it.
Regarding victim notification, the legislation would amend the Bill of Rights to require law enforcement agencies to inform survivors, whether or not the identity of the perpetrator is known, if the law enforcement agency elects not to analyze the DNA evidence within certain time limits. Currently, such notification is required only in cases where the identity of the perpetrator is unknown.
Testing Status Unknown
|Tracking||Testing||Victim Notification||No Known Reform||Reform in Progress||Partial Reform||Complete Reform|
In March 2013, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office received a $1.5 million grant from Natasha's Justice Project to reduce the county's rape kit backlog. There were nearly 2,000 untested kits at police departments across the county.
Reporters uncovered more than 2,000 untested kits at police departments across Santa Clara County in May 2013. The San Jose Police Department had over 1,800 untested kits in its property room. In the city of Santa Clara, the police collected 45 kits between 2009 and 2012, and sent seven for testing. The department had a total of 49 untested kits in its property room. The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety collected 53 kits between 2009 and 2012, and sent 12 for testing. The department had 207 untested kits in its property room.
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