Online tracking system for sexual assault kits proves successful

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-17 19:11:37-04

In a first for Idaho, and the rest of the country, a new system is giving victims of sexual violence the ability to track their sexual assault kits online; and after just one year of implementation, the system is being called a success. 

Barcodes on every kit allows state police and victims to see where the kits are, and provides updates as they move through the system. 

"It actually increases the number of submissions that we get in the laboratory," said Matthew Gamette, Laboratory System Director. "We have seen quite a few more in the last year, which is good, because we're making sure that all of the kits are being accounted for and processed."

Before this system, police had no way of knowing just how many kits there were around the state. 

In total, Idaho State Police say that more than 3,500 sexual assault kits have been submitted into the online system. 

Police say the new system also keeps victims more informed with their cases. 

"It has really provided our victims with a much better mechanism than maybe we've had in the past," said Maj. Charlie Spencer with the Idaho State Police. "You know, from a law enforcement perspective, to be able to track their cases and really know what's occurring and not feel any kind of a stigma."

Last year, state representative Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) introduced the legislation that led to the creation of the new online system, and says it's a step in the right direction. 

"It's just a great way to provide tools to law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable, as well as empower victims so that they can actually track the evidence belonging to their case, so I'm very, very pleased," Wintrow said. 

Also part of the legislation, kits must now be stored for 55 years.