House passes bill requiring faster processing of rape kits

    Anchorage Rep. Geran Tarr on the floor of the House of Representatives.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a bill that would prevent a backlog of rape kits

    According to House leadership, the bill would also help make sure victims of sexual assault see swift justice delivered against their perpetrators.

    Rep. Geran Tarr introduced House Bill 182 as the next step in the ongoing Rape Kit Reform initiative.

    “By giving certainty in the process and by requiring rape kit testing within six months, this bill helps bring justice to survivors and will ultimately help reduce the unacceptable rates of sexual assault in Alaska,” Rep. Tarr said. “Today’s unanimous vote for this bill proves that Alaska’s leaders are united in the fight to make our state safe.”

    Alaskans report four times more sexual assaults than the national average, and the state saw an 11 percent increase in 2018 – because there is still a significant backlog of untested rape kits.

    HB182 requires that all sexual assault examination kits collected in Alaska must be tested within six months, down from the current requirement of one year.

    This reform comes on the heels of the passage of House Bill 49 in 2019 that required rape kits to be sent to the crime lab for processing within thirty days and that law enforcement notify victims within two weeks of receiving the results.

    The proposal now heads to the Senate for consideration.

     

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