State Police to launch online rape evidence tracking tool

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Survivors of sexual assault in Illinois will soon be able to monitor online the progress of DNA evidence related to their case, state police said.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly announced Sunday that the Division of Forensic Services will implement an online sexual assault tracking system by the end of the year.

The system will let survivors track their rape kits as they move through the DNA testing process from the hospital, to the forensic lab and ending at the state's attorney's office. Each case will be assigned a unique number and password to ensure privacy.

"Survivors of sexual assault or violent crime shouldn't be left in the dark while their kit makes its way through a system that can seem cold and indifferent," Kelly said. "They should know that hospitals, police, forensic scientists, and prosecutors care about their case and transparency is the best way to make sure that happens."

Kelly said he hopes that making more data available will encourage those involved in the process to find ways to expedite the collection of evidence from rape kits.

"Delays in DNA testing are greater and more complex than simply speeding up the test itself," Kelly said. "But by completely laying bare the process from start to finish, I know all stakeholders involved will see many steps that can be taken, both inside and outside the lab, which will reduce turn-around time."

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