COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill requiring state police to set up a system to track evidence collected during sexual assault investigations cleared another hurdle Wednesday.
Currently, in South Carolina there is no system to track the evidence, called rape kits, and victims often have no idea if police have tested the evidence.
The bill to create the database passed the House last year, and a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday sent it to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
“If we can track the origin from a piece of fruit from the vine to the kitchen table, we should certainly be able to track rape kits in South Carolina,” said Jamika Nedwards, crisis director of the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville, which advocates for sexual assault victims.
The bill was prompted by an investigation by WYFF-TV. The stories prompted a survey of untested rape kits by the State Law Enforcement Division in late 2018, which found nearly 1,800 untested rape kits. But nearly two-thirds of agencies across the state didn’t answer the survey.
Senators did change a few parts of the House bill, moving the date to start the database to 2022 and shielding victim information from becoming public.