Does Idaho law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Yes – Annual
Tracking of Rape Kits?
Testing of all backlogged rape kits?
Testing of all rape kits in the future?
Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?
Funding for testing kits?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Idaho is unknown. In 2016, Idaho enacted a law requiring the state crime lab to conduct an annual audit of untested rape kits. In December 2016, the Idaho State Police Forensic Services released the first audit report, which found 1,116 untested rape kits in storage at law enforcement agencies and labs statewide. Idaho law does not require law enforcement agencies to test rape kits.
In 2015, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Boise to light. As of December 2015, the Boise Police Department reported 173 untested kits collected between 2006 and 2015. Since our request, 109 of these kits have been submitted for processing, leaving a backlog of 64 untested kits.
The 2016 law also stresses, but does not mandate, that rape kits should be tested in a timely manner (30 days is suggested). The law requires a county prosecutor to review cases in which kits are not sent for testing and gives the prosecutor the power to overturn the decision. It also requires the state police create a tracking process for rape kits throughout the state. The law established victims’ rights to notice about the status of their rape kits including the right to know when a kit is submitted a lab, a DNA profile is uploaded to the DNA database, a match occurs between the profile and another profile in the database, a kit is going to be destroyed, and any change in case status occurs, including the reopening of the case. In addition, Idaho legislators appropriated $222,300 in new funding to the Idaho State Police crime lab.
In 2017, Idaho enacted a law to strengthen victim notification rights by requiring local law enforcement agencies to notify survivors when there is a change in case status or when their case is reopened. Additionally, the bill requires healthcare providers to offer rape kit exams to all survivors, regardless of ability to pay, and requires law enforcement agencies to retain all sexual assault kits for longer periods of time, based on the presumed charges associated with the crime. Read our testimony in support.
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