We do not know the extent of the backlog in New Jersey. Like many states, New Jersey does not require its law enforcement agencies to track or count rape kits, making it difficult to know the extent of the rape kit backlog here. However, legislation recently introduced in New Jersey could soon change that.
In 2016, legislators in New Jersey introduced AB-894 and SB-839. Both bills would require law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits to a crime lab within 10 days of collection, and the crime lab to complete analysis within six months of receipt. Additionally, the bill would require a statewide audit of untested rape kits, and that previously untested kits to be submitted for testing within 180 days.
If passed, New Jersey would join a growing number of states all across the country making 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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In July 2014, New Jersey's Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced a statewide directive requiring longer retention of sexual assault evidence in cases where the survivor has not yet chosen to report the crime to the police. Previously, law enforcement was to retain such evidence for a minimum of 90 days, but the new policy requires retention of the evidence for at least five years. After five years, the Attorney General's Office will have the options of taking custody of the evidence and continuing to preserve it. The new policy also directs healthcare providers to ask whether the survivor wants to be notified at or near the end of the five-year period.
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