Today, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced legislation that requires all law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers to participate in a comprehensive statewide Sexual Assault Examination Kit Tracking Program.
“Public safety is my top priority and ensuring the swift and transparent tracking of sexual assault examination kits is essential for both accountability and the well-being of survivors,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This legislation addresses identified gaps in the existing system.”
The Department of Public Safety has already initiated the implementation of a web-based Sexual Assault Examination Kit Tracking System. The tracking system provides survivors with a trauma-informed method to check the status of their kit without having to call or email the investigating law enforcement officer. HB 275 and SB 193 ensure that there is accountability for each kit at each stage of the kit collection, transmission, and testing process.
HB 275 and SB 193 propose that the timeline for updating and notifying victims on their examination be within 14 days of kit testing, this is in line with recommendations from the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative working group and the Joyful Heart Foundation’s pillars of sexual assault kit reform.
Currently, existing regulations require law enforcement agencies to submit sexual assault examination kits to the laboratory within 30 days, but there is no corresponding requirement for healthcare providers to notify law enforcement of kit completion. The proposed legislation addresses this gap by mandating that healthcare providers inform law enforcement of a completed sexual assault kit within 7 days of collection. This addition expedites examinations, aligning with the statutory requirement for specific submission and processing timelines.
The proposed legislation marks a crucial step toward a more effective and survivor-centered approach to addressing sexual assault cases. Governor Dunleavy encourages bipartisan support for this initiative, emphasizing its importance in enhancing public safety and ensuring justice for survivors.