We do not currently know the size of the rape kit backlog in Illinois. After a state law—the first of its kind in the country—was passed in 2010, requiring that all rape kits be submitted for testing, an estimated 4,000 were tested, generating 927 matches in the DNA databank.
The law in Illinois in many ways opened the door to a tide of rape kit reform laws in state legislatures across the United States that have since been passed. To further reform, Illinois legislators introduced SB-2133 and SB-2221 in 2016. SB-2133 would establish victim notification rights in regards to the submission and analysis status of the rape kit, and SB-2221 would establish a tracking system and require an annual statewide audit of rape kits. SB-2221 passed in June 2016 and is on its way to the Governor.
In June 2016, Illinois Senate Bill 3096 was passed. This bill builds on the existing rape kit processing law and improves the response to sexual assault. The bill 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, victim-centered policies governing sexual assault responses. SB 3096 grants survivors the right to know the status of their kits and extends the time period under which survivors can consent to the release of their rape kits for testing to five years. The bill is currently on the Governor's desk for approval.
Join us and take action today to advocate for transparency and change from our elected officials.
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