Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the release today of a new software program, called Track-Kit, that allows the tracking of rape kits following an assault.
“You can track it from the hospital to law enforcement to the testing lab and back to law enforcement,” Miller says. “We think this is really important to add trust and transparency to this system.” Miller says the state is clearing up a backlog of untested kits and this will ensure the backlog doesn’t happen again as there are an estimated 1,500 users at medical facilities, law enforcement agencies, crime laboratories, and county attorney’s offices.
Shannon Knudsen is a sexual assault nurse examiner with the Mid-Iowa Sexual Assault response team. “This has been really significant for us as medical examiners because we are able to complete the circle as far as assuring patients that their kits are collected appropriately. Letting them know that they can track their kit throughout the process,” Knudsen says.
She says this gives them confidence they can trust the system. “Prior to this we were able to tell them that we collected the kit and they may not hear anything further until sometimes a year later as far as where their kit is,” Knudsen says. “And now we are able to tell them that their kits will be processed in a much more timely matter — it’s really critical.”
Knudsen says it’s also important to have a way for victims to keep up with the process. “If something isn’t happening with their kit that they thought would be — they can check on that and follow that and say ‘hey, what’s going on?'” The program provides a secure portal to track the progress of their kit through the collection and analysis process, and also provides local sexual assault resources and contact information.
The system also allows survivors to contact law enforcement if they change their decision to participate in an investigation.