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Local advocates applaud state initiative to help sexual assault victimsSubmitted: 02/07/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Local advocates applaud state initiative to help sexual assault victims
RHINELANDER - A statistic revealed last week surprised many people in Wisconsin.

The state still has 6,000 rape kits waiting to be tested. That's a backlog with implications for victims and prosecutors.

Last week, state Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the "By Your Side" campaign to give more power to victims in navigating the system. Rhinelander's Tri-County Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence supports the effort.


"That's a lot of people who have been victimized that aren't having their cases or having their experiences or their stories really told through that evidence," said Sexual Assault Program Coordinator Braden Bayne-Allison.

Testing those rape kits could also put the DNA signature of more sexual predators in the system, which could help prevent future crimes.

"Having 6,000 more pieces of the puzzle might help get a few more perpetrators of sexually violent crimes off the street," Bayne-Allison said.

The "By Your Side" program also promotes victims' ability to wait up to 10 years before having their rape kit tested. Victims can also choose not to have their kit tested.  If the kit is tested, however, the incident automatically gets forwarded to law enforcement, according to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

"It's very hard to expect someone to be completely rational and completely ready to move forward with a step as large as [contacting] law enforcement within that small time frame [right after the crime]," said Bayne-Allison.

Bayne-Allison likes that the power is focused on the victims' comfort, not an insensitive legal system.

"Victims first over prosecution first," he said. "It's more about making sure that the victim's experience is as harmless as possible."

The "By Your Side" program also offers a hotline for victims to check the status of their rape kits. Victims can call 800-446-6564 or click the link below for more information.

Related Weblinks:
By Your Side

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/27/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We take our Long Summer Weekend to Langlade County:

We talk about the importance of lumber industry in Langlade County and throughout Wisconsin, and we talk to Northcentral Technical College and a local lumber company about how NTC is like a pipeline of talent for the industry.

We show you the Langlade County Fair's annual horsemanship showcase and introduce you to some of the competitors.

And when you go shopping for produce, you normally take a list and pull straight from the store shelf. But tonight we take you to a Deerbrook farm where you buy a season's worth of vegetables without knowing what you'll get.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more on our long summer weekend in Langlade County tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Bob and Joni's bar has gone through three generations of owners and a few name changes since it opened more than 70 years ago. 

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"If you're not laughing, smiling, having a good time, you're probably at the wrong bar," said Bob and Joni's manager Jeremy Walters.

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Prosecutors filed formal charges against 51-year-old Richard Hitchcock in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Hitchcock is accused of burning his van in the woods and firing three shots last Thursday. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office responded with its SWAT team, a drone, and canine units before arresting Hitchcock.

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Logging experts tell WLUK-TV that it typically takes three or four days of dry weather for the ground to be parched enough for trucks to operate on logging roads.

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The electronics giant known for making Apple products in China Foxconn has not said what type of jobs it will offer in order to produce liquid-crystal display panels that are used in televisions and computer screens. But some of the higher-end positions could be for engineers and software developers and those jobs aren't always easy to fill.

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In 2015, a jury found Apple infringed on a patent held by the foundation, which supports research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The patent involves chip technology developed at the university. The technology was used in processors installed by Apple in a number of products.

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