Last year we learned that more than 1,300 rape kits sit in a purgatory-like state in crime labs across Illinois, leaving victims unable to get justice. Records indicated that some of the untested kits dated back to 2014, and after a sizable amount of backlash from the public, state legislators intervened. Earlier this week, Illinois passed new legislation to streamline the process of collecting, testing and following through on sexual assault evidence.
House Bill 6332 requires Illinois State Police to conduct DNA analysis on all sexual assault evidence and notify other law enforcement agencies, including the local state’s attorney, of any DNA matches. Additionally State Police are required to publish a quarterly report that provides information about sexual assault cases from each law enforcement agency.
“According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, there are on average over 8,000 reported cases of sexual assault each year in Illinois,” said Representative Dan Beiser, D-Alton who proposed the bill. “We need a plan in place to reduce the number of sexual assaults and catch the perpetrators of these violent crime.”
Rep. Beiser’s bill was passed earlier this week, and he spoke about the intended purpose of the legislation. He said he believes the bill will unite agencies that oversee the collection, testing and follow up of sexual assault samples to ensure victims get justice and perpetrators get put behind bars so they can’t harm anyone else.
“We have a responsibility to everyone living in the state to ensure that law enforcement officials and prosecutors are working together to stop violent crime,” Beiser said. “Ensuring that law enforcement and prosecutors share information with each other and the public is an important part of the solution.”
To see the bill in its entirety, click here.