SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California is a step closer to getting an idea how large its backlog of untested rape kits is.
Assembly Bill 3118, which would require law enforcement agencies count and report untested rape kits, is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
For many sexual assault survivors, a rape kit is the only shot at justice.
Sacramento County District Attorney Deputy Chief Steve Grippi says the county receives about 250 to 350 rape kits every year. As of March 2018, there were about 700 rape kits sitting on shelves untested. Across California, there are at least 13,000.
“I don’t think it was recognized as a problem initially until the last several years,” said Grippi.
AB3118 passed unanimously in the state Assembly and is now on its way to Brown’s desk. The bill would create the state’s first tally system of untested rape kits and would require local law enforcement agencies to count and report how many they have to the Department of Justice. In the past two years, two similar bills have died.
Supporters say the most recent vote is a victory for rape victims, acting as an important push for action in rape cases by getting an accurate count of the problem- a problem Grippi says Sacramento County is getting a handle on.
“We think we’ll be done by the end of the year, have zero backlog.”
If passed, agencies would have to report to the Department of Justice by Jan. 1. The DOJ is then required to report to the legislature one year later.
The governor has until Sept. 30th to sign the bill. There is also another bill moving through the Capitol that would require all rape kits be tested within 4 months of submission.