SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- A state senate bill requiring an online portal for rape survivors to track the status of their rape kits passed the assembly Thursday and headed to the governor's desk for him to sign.
SB 215, authored by State Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), adds a survivor portal to California's existing rape kit tracking system—the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) database. The survivor portal will ensure a private, easy-to-use option for survivors to monitor their rape kits.
"SB 215 prioritizes healing and justice by empowering rape survivors and strengthening public safety," Sen. Leyva said. "In this digital age, it does not make sense that rape survivors are forced to receive an update on their rape kit by phone or in person when online access is a much more convenient, private and survivor sensitive process."
Unprocessed rape kits have plagued law enforcement in California for years. Since 2017, Levya and other state legislators have been pushing to bills to speed up the process. As of September, about 14,000 rape kits still await processing -- the same number it was over a year ago.
Sen. Leyva has authored other laws that were related to SB 215, including SB 813, which eliminates the statute of limitations on rape; SB 500, which criminalizes sextortion; and SB 820, which bans secret settlements in cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
As of press time, Gov. Gavin Newsom has not indicated he will sign the bill, though he did sign Leyva's previous bills.
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