Bill calls for better tracking of sexual assault evidence

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Indiana could soon have more accountability for the handling of sexual assault kits.

On Tuesday, a public safety committee voted in favor of a new tracking system to prevent kits from getting lost or left sitting in a property room untested.

It will help sexual assault survivors get a better chance at justice.

The proposed tracking system would allow survivors to follow their evidence from the collection process to the courtroom.

The system would assign coding numbers to each kit, and at any given time, survivors can check the status to see what's happening with their case.

Last year, State Senator Michael Crider made a disturbing discovery. A statewide audit revealed more than 2,500 sexual assault kits had not been tested. Viable specimens that could have helped to solve cases were simply forgotten. Others were considered false reports.

Police and prosecutors were criticized for not sending more kits to the crime lab for testing. That process that can take up to 15 months.

Lawmakers hope the new system will provide more consistency from county to county.

The bill would also require the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to reimburse hospitals and other facilities that provide forensic medical exams.

The measure now goes to the full House for consideration.