LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday announced the hiring of the state’s first-ever sexual assault evidence coordinator and the launch of a new online portal that will allow survivors to track the status of their evidence.
“There is no place for sexual assault in California or anywhere else,” Bonta said in a statement.
“My office strives to do everything in our power to support survivors, reduce harm and ensure justice,” he said. “That is precisely what the new measures we are announcing today are about – increasing access to the information survivors are legally entitled to and supporting our local partners in their efforts to process evidence of sexual assault.”
The outreach coordinator, Dr. Sarai Crain, will work directly with law enforcement agencies, medical facilities and other partner organizations to support local efforts to track and process sexual assault evidence.
Collectively, the new initiatives aim to clear the backlog of sexual assault evidence at the local level, ensure timely processing of sexual assault evidence, and increase transparency and access to information for survivors, the attorney general said.
“Dr. Crain is a significant addition to our team and she will play a vital role in the fight to ensure that sexual assault evidence never gathers dust again,” said Bonta.
“And as a result of the new portal, survivors have direct access to critical information. The portal would not be possible without the tireless work of Senator (Connie) Leyva, survivor leaders and attorneys across the state committed to advocating for those affected by sexual violence. Together we will continue to fight against sexual abuse in all its forms.”
The new portal is an easy-to-use tool that enables sexual assault survivors to privately, securely and electronically track the status and location of their sexual assault evidence following a sexual assault forensic medical examination. As a result of the new portal, survivors can now know in real-time whether their sexual assault evidence kit has been received by a law enforcement agency, is on its way to a lab, has been obtained from a lab, is undergoing DNA analysis, or has had DNA Analysis complete, Bonta said.
“My sexual assault evidence has been gathering dust for almost a decade after I was raped and robbed at gunpoint,” said motivational speaker and author Natasha Alexenko of Natasha’s Justice Project/VOICE Amplified.
“I was unaware of the fact that my rape kit had not been processed,” she said. “Meanwhile, the man who assaulted me was on a nationwide crime spree that put lives at risk. I am inspired by the relentless pursuit of justice and commitment to survivors of sexual violence demonstrated by the California Department of Justice and Attorney General Bonta. This new portal empowers survivors and recognizes our importance in the investigative process. Survivors matter. Public safety is important.”
The portal is accessible online at Individuals without a sexual assault evidence kit number should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and, if necessary, obtain additional information from the Department of Justice’s Victim Services Division.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/01/california-sexual-assault-survivors-can-track-status-of-evidence-kits-via-online-portal/ Sexual assault survivors in California can track the status of evidence through the online portal – Orange County Register