ATHENS, Ga. – (September 14, 2021) – SANE, Inc., a local non-profit organization that provides victim forensic medical examinations to survivors in North Georgia, is part of a pilot program that will begin tracking sexual assault kits.
SANE, Inc. is serving as the collection site in the pilot program in partnership with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, UGA Police Department, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, and The Cottage.
The pilot program, which launched Sept. 14, is part of HB 255 (the Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2021), a bill that builds on previous legislation requiring law enforcement to pick up evidence and submit it for testing in a timely fashion. House Bill 255 helps to track the kits to ensure this is happening.
Following a forensic examination, evidence is kept in a sexual assault kit. In the pilot program, each kit will have a barcode attached to the outside of it. The barcode will be scanned each time there is an update on the kit. For example, the kit will be scanned if it is sent to a lab to be tested, if it moves hands to another law enforcement agency or lab, or if a kit is retained at a collection site or participating agency.
Kit tracking will help to ensure that sexual assault survivors are kept informed of the status of their sexual assault kit. It will also help law enforcement agencies to get accurate and timely information about the status of a kit.
The Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Tracking Website will allow survivors and certain professionals such as legal teams, labs, and hospital personnel assigned to a case, to enter the serial number of a specific sexual assault kit and see the status and location of that kit. These measures will ensure that all investigative kits are tested and help prevent future backlog of untested evidence.
“We are very excited that SANE was chosen to participate in this pilot program,” said SANE, Inc. Executive Director Michelle Dickens. “Tracking sexual assault kits will give survivors more information and information is power.”
SANE, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides victim forensic medical examinations, evidence collection, court testimony, and education related to the sexual assault of children and adults across 11 counties in Northeast Georgia. SANE provides services at no cost to survivors and their families in accordance with state and federal laws, and no survivor is turned away based on where they live, where the assault occurred, or any other demographics. Learn more at saneinc.org.
SANE, Inc. Marketing Chair