California opens new site to track rape kits since backlog balloons to more than 4,500 two years ago

California launches site to track results of rape kits after police backlogs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California has opened a new site to track results of rape kits since the backlog of untested rape kits in that state ballooned to more than 4,500 two years ago.

The state’s Department of Justice said Thursday that it is creating a Web site — and will make it available to sexual assault victims and anyone else who requests it.

The site will collect data on what percentage of rape kits are tested and how many are untested or not sent out. The state said it has to wait until its office of forensic sciences completes a report on the backlog of untested kits to make that information available on the site.

At the time, Attorney General Kamala Harris said she had been assured by police officials at the time of a 2013 audit that there was no more untested rape kits. She said that information was on file in the state’s Department of Health Care Services where sexual assault victims wait for their kits.

The department said that “a number of other state authorities also have information related to the state’s backlog.”

Police authorities in Santa Clara County stopped sending rape kits directly to the state’s crime lab in August 2012 after being told that the kits were too large for them to make in time to test them in time for their mandated deadlines.

“It’s like an out of control situation,” Harris told the Oakland Tribune when she testified in August 2013 before the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

The state then transferred them to the county, where they waited almost a year for results to be available, the Tribune reported. The city of Sunnyvale, in nearby Silicon Valley, started testing the kits in July 2014, but only a small number were tested at that time and only after the state had delayed the results and the City Council had called for more testing, according to a report on the testing by the San Jose Mercury News.

“What does it mean for the victims of these crimes that their kits have sat untested for two and a half years? What does it mean for the survivors’

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