HomeSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina launches rape kit tracking system to aid survivors

South Carolina launches rape kit tracking system to aid survivors

Columbia, South Carolina – In a significant move towards improving the support for survivors of sexual assault, South Carolina has introduced a new system allowing individuals to track the status of their rape kits online. This initiative, launched by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), aims to provide survivors with a sense of control and transparency over their cases. The development comes in response to the distressing statistic that last year, 3,500 people in South Carolina became survivors of sexual assault.

South Carolina has introduced a new system allowing individuals to track the status of their rape kits online, SLED to be in charge

S.C. Gov. McMaster initiated this move few years ago

Governor Henry McMaster initially mandated the creation of this tracking system in 2020, but it was not until December of the previous year that the pilot program finally got underway. This system represents a beacon of hope for many, as Sarah Barber from the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault highlighted, expressing optimism for an enhanced state response to survivors.

The tracking system, known as the sexual assault kits tracking or “track it” system, outlines the journey of the evidence from collection at the hospital, through law enforcement’s hands, and finally to SLED for analysis. Survivors can monitor when an analyst is assigned to their case, the testing phase, and even when the kit is en-route back to the investigating agency.

Since its inception, the system has seen 77 kits enter into it, with 11 having undergone forensic analysis and another 26 awaiting their turn. The system not only promises increased efficiency but also aims to streamline the preparation of evidence for court cases, a task that Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster acknowledges as a significant challenge that often leads to delays in processing.

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Sheriff Foster also pointed out the complexity of evidence processing and the relief that the new tracking system offers both to law enforcement and survivors. With 14 reported sexual assaults in Newberry County in 2022 alone, the system is a much-needed tool in ensuring that survivors’ kits do not end up forgotten.

Read also: Sumter County secures $75,000 grant to preserve African-American heritage sites

While SLED has admitted that it cannot currently provide detailed data broken down by jurisdiction due to the phased implementation of the program, there is a commitment to include more comprehensive statistics in future reports. This step is seen as providing an extra layer of security for victims, ensuring their cases are treated with the urgency and care they deserve.

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