REPORT ON UNTESTED SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS RETAINED BY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENTS, PLANS AND PROCEDURES FOR THE DISPOSITION OF CURRENTLY UNTESTED KITS AND NEW KITS, AND RELATED INFORMATION
Submitted to The Twenty-Ninth State Legislature Regular Session of 2017
From Hawaii Attorney General, December 1, 2016
Act 207 SLH 2016 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General. The results of that inventory show that across all four county police departments, since 1992 the state has collected 2240 sexual assault kits. As of June 30, 2016, 1951 of these have not been tested and 289 of them have been tested.
The working group assembled by Act 207 has surveyed multiple other jurisdictions to determine best practices for handling and testing sexual assault kits, what research tells us about testing sexual assault kits, and has engaged in productive discussions amongst the working group members as to how those best practices can best be applied to Hawaii. As part of this survey the working group reviewed multiple evidence-based studies and initiatives from other states, the federal government, and independent research centers that focus on sexual assault issues, in an effort to ensure that solutions proposed for Hawaii are data-driven and supported.
As Hawaii’s effort to reform the testing of sexual assault kits moves forward, the working group has identified project-specific objectives, tasks, and processes. The working group will provide information to victims and their supporters, and the public-at-large on the changes that will be undertaken by the working group members. The working group will review its progress to reduce the number of untested kits, document the outcomes of the tests, track the status of the kits, respond to victim’s needs and concerns, and make modifications as needed. The foundation of the project, which includes a victim-centered focus, is being built on the in-kind services of the working group members.
Based on the analysis of work done in other jurisdictions and how those practices can be applied to Hawaii, the working group developed the Malāma Kākou Project, (translation: Care for All of Us; We Care), a state plan:
- To test untested sexual assault kits and new sexual assault kits;
- To identify the criteria for testing and not testing sexual assault kits and the order of testing;
- To provide active outreach and public notification to ensure that information and services are provided to impacted survivors; and
- To establish a tracking system for sexual assault kits.
The Malāma Kākou Project is a reflection of the working group’s sentiment that a group of caring professionals are working to reform the testing of sexual assault kits in Hawaii.
This comprehensive report provides the details about how this plan was created, the research that was conducted to formulate it, how the working group anticipates implementing the plan in the coming months and years, what type of funding will be required, and recommendations for additional legislative action.
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SA: 1,400 backlogged rape kits are to be tested