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Bill introduced to test all rape kits in Idaho

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Posted at 1:57 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-09 20:22:12-05

BOISE, IDAHO — Following up on a story 6 On Your Side brought you last summer, a quarter million dollars was recently awarded to Idaho State Police for improving sexual assault evidence collection. Now, Democratic House Representative Melissa Wintrow is working to ensure all rape kits are actually tested.

In the past, she says, even when a rape kit was administered, it would often sit on a shelf collecting dust-- never making its way into a database. With this new bill, Rep. Wintrow is looking to change that.

Holding rapists accountable, Rep. Wintrow says, begins with knowing all the data.

"The more kits we can enter into the national database, the greater chance we have to identify a 'serial' rapist and hold them accountable."

Thursday, Wintrow introduced a bill aimed at supporting Idaho's sexual assault survivors and bringing their perpetrators to justice. She writes, "to test all sexual assault evidence kits with only rare exceptions."

According to a 2017 Crime in Idaho study, every 15 and a half hours, someone is raped in Idaho. This new bill comes as a result of years of efforts in the statehouse.

“Thankfully, we established a first of its kind tracking system in 2016, which led us to identify issues and address them, which we are doing in this legislation."

Accessibilty to these exams was also a major focus for Rep. Wintrow recently. In 2018, she helped to pass a law that ensured victims of sexual assault would not be billed for the medical forensic exam.

6 On Your Side will keep you update with the status and activity of the "Test all" kits bill.