We do not currently know the full size of the rape kit backlog in Washington, although the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) is currently conducting a statewide audit of unprocessed sexual assault kits. As of March 2015, a total of 6,000 untested kits have been reported so far. Legislation mandating testing guidelines was passed in 2015, and additional legislation is currently pending.
In May 2015, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law that requires law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits for testing within 30 days of receipt and establishes a task force to develop a response plan to address the backlog in the state.
On April 1, 2016, HB 2530, sponsored by Representative Tina Orwall, was signed by Governor Jay Inslee. This law establishes a statewide rape kit tracking system with mandatory participation and creates a training grant for law enforcement investigators and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). Funding for the bill was held up in budget negotiations but an agreement was reached on March 29: the budget includes $871,000 in FY 17 and $1.7M in the 17-19 biennium to implement the tracking system. It also includes $2.5M for the state patrol to address the sexual assault kit backlog.
Washington joins a growing number of states all across the country continuing real reforms to end the backlog.
Join us and take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.
Testing Status Unknown
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