Does Maryland law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Yes – One-Time
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?
In January 2017, the State Attorney General's Office released an audit report that found 3,700 untested rape kits statewide. Maryland law does not require law enforcement agencies to track or test rape kits.
In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Baltimore to light. In response to our request, Joyful Heart received contradictory information from the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore Police Department Crime Lab. In August 2016, the Department of Justice found that, between 2010 and 2014, the Baltimore Police Department tested rape kits in just 15% of sexual assault cases, and otherwise systematically failed sexual assault survivors.
In 2015, Maryland enacted a law requiring law enforcement agencies to conduct a one-time audit of untested rape kits by January 2016 and submit a written report to the Attorney General in March 2016. The report is due to the General Assembly by December 2016.
That same year, Maryland also enacted a law requiring health care professionals to provide victims with the investigating law enforcement agency’s contact information to inquire about the status of their case. The law requires law enforcement to inform a victim about the status of the rape kit testing and all available results, upon the victim’s request.
In 2017, Maryland enacted a law requiring law enforcement and other agencies to preserve all newly collected rape kits for 20 years following collection, notify survivors at least 60 days before planned kit destruction, and keep kits for longer, upon written request. The law also grants survivors the right to receive, within 30 days of request, information about the location and status of their kits. Read Joyful Heart's testimony in support.
In 2017, Maryland legislators also introduced bills to require mandatory submission and testing of newly collected rape kits and create a tracking system for rape kits, but these bills failed to pass.
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