A recent push from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul might change how testing of rape kits are regulatedSubmitted: 12/06/2019
Zack White
Zack White

A recent push from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul might change how testing of rape kits are regulated
ONEIDA COUNTY - A proposal was developed by lawmakers, victims' rights advocates, and members of law enforcement to regulate testing of rape kits.

Oneida County Sheriff's office investigative captain Terri Hook said the bill would make all rape kits evidence.

"It takes a way the digression of law enforcement to decided what evidence is important and what evidence is not important," said Hook.

This new bill would create new timelines and protocols for nurses, victims, and members of law enforcement.

Health care professionals would notify law enforcement within 24 hours of the examination if there is a kit to be tested.

Police would have 72 hours to collect the kit and 14 days to send it to state crime labs for processing. 

The bill also offers survivors the choice to decide when to report.

Hook said a potential drawback of the bill is officers would have to hold kits longer than needed.

"Now I am going to have to hold that kit indefinitely, because the bill says I must hold that kit until the statute of limitation is expired or 50 years," said Hook. 

A survivor does not have to report the assault at the time of the examination.

If a survivor doesn't report, the kit will be sent to state crime labs to be stored for up to 10 years in case victims change their mind.

The sexual assault program coordinator for Oneida County Melissa K. said this would offer a safety net for the victims.

"If a person chooses to have those kits tested, obviously an underage person would have theirs tested right away, but letting people know that within the first 72 hours your kit will be tested if permission is given," said Melissa.

Governor Evers said he would sign the bill into law if it passes.

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