Illinois

Backlog Snapshot

Illinois
Untested Kits:

Unknown

Testing:

In Progress

Does Illinois law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?

Yes – Annual

Tracking of Rape Kits?

Proposed

Testing of all backlogged rape kits?

Yes

Testing of all rape kits in the future?

Yes

Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?

Yes

Funding for testing kits?

No

The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Illinois is unknown. In 2010, Illinois became the first state to enact a law requiring a statewide audit and rape kit testing. As a result, an estimated 4,000 kits were tested, generating 927 matches in the DNA databank. The 2010 law led to a wave of similar rape kit reform bills in state legislatures across the U.S. Illinois law does not require law enforcement agencies to track rape kits.

In 2015, The Accountability Project issued open records requests to bring the number of untested kits in, UrbanaSpringfieldChicago, and Champaign to light. Through our efforts, we have learned that Urbana submitted 92% of all rape kits received between 2001 and 2015 to the lab for testing. As of January 2017, the remaining 16 untested rape kits have been submitted to the lab for testing. We have also learned that Springfield submitted 93% of all kits received to the lab for testing between 2005 and 2015. As of January 2016, the Springfield Police Department reported 43 untested kits in storage.To date, we have not received complete responses from Chicago or Champaign. 

In 2016, Illinois enacted a law requiring an annual statewide audit of rape kits. 

Also in 2016, Illinois enacted a law that builds upon the existing rape kit law and improves the state’s response to sexual assault. The law requires trauma-informed training for law enforcement investigators, first responders and 911 operators; law enforcement officers to complete written reports of every sexual assault complaint; and law enforcement agencies and 911 centers to have trauma-informed, survivor-centered policies governing sexual assault responses. The law also grants victims the right to know the status of their kits. 

In 2017, the Illinois House and Senate both voted to pass a bill to create a commission to research and develop a plan for a statewide rape kit tracking system, which must allow secure electronic access for survivors to track the status of their kits. This bill is awaiting transmission to the governor.

TAKE ACTION TODAY TO BRING FURTHER RAPE KIT REFORM TO ILLINOIS

  • Additional Information

In 2016, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Illinois state lab had a backlog of 3,100 rape, murder and other cases that had been awaiting testing for more than 30 days after being submitted for testing by law enforcement agencies. 

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