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New database in Texas helps sexual assault victims track their evidence kits

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Victims of rape go through extensive tests just to prove there’s evidence to make a case. Now, they’re getting the chance to track where the evidence is going through a statewide online database called Track-Kit.

It aims to speed up the investigations, said Donna Neel, a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), who administers forensic exams.

“We will use what’s called a  Sirchie or other communities may use some other sexual assault kits that have envelopes and swabs that we collect when we do a sexual assault exam,” Neel said. 

Nurses collect evidence, through “rape kits” and then turn them over to authorities. 

“We document who we release it to,” Neel said. “[The victim] will see when law enforcement releases it to the crime lab.”

The City of Lubbock has been going through a pilot program since mid-June, where they’re putting the kits on the online database for victims to access.

The idea behind it, Neel said, is to speed up the investigations and keep everyone accountable. 

“In previous, victims just had to wait until they got the phone call from the detective,” Neel said.

Neel said there are hopes that this will close more cases.

“If they see their kit is stuck in one of those processes, they can call their detective of the case and say hey, I notice my kit is stuck at the crime lab, why has it been there for six months,” Neel said.

Neel also mentioned it’s a way for the survivors to take ownership of their kit.  

Victims are given a unique username and password and the database is anonymous.

It will go into law on Sept. 1st.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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