HB 31 Reforms How Sexual Assault Examination Kits are Tested
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2017
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 31, an important public safety measure that will continue efforts to reform Alaska’s broken system of processing sexual examination kits. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), also offers multiple victim-centered reporting options.
“We know DNA evidence can get dangerous criminals off our streets,” said Rep. Tarr. “The current inadequate system for processing sexual assault examination kits allows criminals in our communities to continue causing harm. This bill improves the system by offering victims multiple reporting options, improving training for law enforcement, and requiring a statewide audit.”
HB 31 establishes three options for reporting sexual assaults. The first option is a formal law enforcement report where the victim chooses to obtain a forensic exam and participate in the criminal justice system at that time. The second option allows a victim to choose a medical forensic exam while not participating in the criminal justice system. The second option requires identifying information about the victim. The third option is an anonymous report that allows the victim to obtain a forensic medical exam but not participate in the criminal justice system. This option allows evidence and information to be given to law enforcement without any identifying information about the victim. By choosing option three, the victim consents to having evidence stored but not tested.
“Victims deserve justice and a process that respects them and acknowledges the trauma they’ve experienced,” said Rep. Tarr. “I believe HB 31 creates a new gold standard for reporting and examining sexual assault examination kits that gives all victims options.”
HB 31 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 40-0. The bill will now be sent to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.
For more information, please contact Celeste Novak in Rep. Tarr’s office at (907) 465-3424.