Montana

Backlog Snapshot

Montana
Untested Kits:

1,188*

Testing:

In Progress

Does Montana...
Inventory untested rape kits?
Yes, a one-time inventory.
Test backlogged rape kits?
Yes, testing in progress.
Test newly collected rape kits?
Yes, all newly collected kits are being tested.
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
No.
Track rape kits?
Yes, tracking system in process.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
No.

*According to the Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force in March 2018, as reported by the Great Falls Tribune.

Learn more about how we track reform

Montana law does not require law enforcement agencies to count or test rape kits. In 2015, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced the establishment of the Montana Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force to examine the backlog of untested rape kits in the state. In 2016, the task force announced that there were 1,410 untested rape kits across the state. In March 2018, the task force reported to the Great Falls Tribune that 1,188 untested rape kits remained. 

In 2015, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Billings to light. Through our efforts, we have learned that the Billings Police Department submitted 97% of all rape kits received between 2006 and 2015 to the lab for testing. As of November 2016, the Billings Police Department reported 5 untested kits in storage.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice awarded the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) $284,500 to implement an evidence management program to inventory, track, and report untested and unsubmitted rape kits. In the same year, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded DOJ $1,999,040 to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors. In 2017, the BJA awarded DOJ an additional $917,740 to sustain this work.

In 2019, Montana enacted a law mandating that for kits with survivor consent to test, law enforcement must retrieve the kit from a medical facility within five days of evidence collection, and submit the kit to a crime lab for testing within 30 days of receipt. For kits without consent to test, health care facilities must inform the victim that the evidence will be forwarded to the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) for storage for a minimum of one year before the kit can be destroyed. Under this law, all kits with consent to testing must be submitted to the state crime lab within 30 days after receiving the kit. This provision will be in effect for four years. Additionally, DOJ must create and operate a statewide rape kit tracking system that allows survivors to access the system anonymously. 

TAKE ACTION TODAY TO BRING RAPE KIT REFORM TO MONTANA

keep up with backlog news

END THE BACKLOG is a JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION initiative and a proud supporter of