Does Utah law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Tracking of Rape Kits?
Testing of all backlogged rape kits?
Testing of all rape kits in the future?
Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?
Funding for testing kits?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Utah is unknown. Utah law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits.
In 2014, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah has an estimated backlog of 2,700 untested rape kits. That same year, Utah enacted a law that grants victims the right to be informed whether a DNA profile was obtained from testing rape kit evidence, the profile was uploaded into the DNA database, and the profile matched another profile in the database. The law also requires law enforcement agencies to notify victims when they do not intend to analyze rape kit evidence in cases where the perpetrator is unknown. In 2014, Utah legislators appropriated $750,000 to test backlogged kits in FY15.
In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office awarded the Utah Department of Public Safety (Bureau of Forensic Services) $1,271,870 to test 1,859 rape kits. Also in 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice $1,999,680 to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.
In 2017, Utah legislators introduced a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to submit all newly collected rape kits to the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services for testing within 30 days of receipt. The bill requires the creation of a statewide tracking system for rape kits, including a means for survivors to anonymously track or receive updates regarding the status of their kits; requires healthcare providers to enter information about newly collected kits into this tracking system within 24 hours of kit collection; and requires law enforcement agencies to enter information into this system within five days of receiving newly collected kits. Additionally, the bill outlines requirements for the handling of restricted (or unreported) kits, requires the development of law enforcement training, and requires annual reporting regarding the processing of rape kits.
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