Gov Malloy Lt Gov Wyman And First Lady Commend Senate Approval Of Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Bill
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, and First Lady Cathy Malloy are applauding the State Senate for voting 36-0 today in favor of legislation that will codify into law specific practices the Malloy administration enacted in recent years in an effort to improve the processing of sexual assault evidence kits at the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and ensure that victims are treated in a compassionate way throughout the process.
The legislation was proposed by Governor Malloy and is a result of the Sexual Assault Kit Working Group that he created in 2016, which was tasked with recommending procedures that would standardize and facilitate the transfer, tracking, and testing of these kits. While the Governor already enacted many of the protocols recommended by the group through his administrative authority, he specifically asked the General Assembly to write these practices into state statute because he feels that it should be the priority of the state to ensure that these efforts continue no matter whom may be the next Governor.
“The proper testing of these evidence kits is both a matter of justice for the victim and a matter of public safety,” said Governor Malloy. “The evidence secured through the collection of DNA can eliminate or identify a suspect, identify someone with previous convictions, link cases, and identify serial rapists. In recent years we’ve made many efforts to improve the processing of this evidence as well as improve services for victims. It’s critical that this effort continue, and I thank the members of the Senate for acting on this important piece of legislation.”
“This legislation is a vital, and timely, step in protecting the survivors of sexual assault,” said Lt. Governor Wyman. “Over the past several years, Connecticut has made significant improvements to how we work with survivors and how we manage evidence of sexual assault. By tracking and processing evidence kits, we ensure they don’t languish and that the justice system has what it needs to keep perpetrators off the streets. These are important gains that should have a permanent place in state statute. I applaud the Senate for passing this bill and urge the House to take action quickly.”
“Survivors of sexual assault deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and empathy,” said First Lady Cathy Malloy, who is a member of the working group. “Having served for over a decade as Executive Director of a sexual assault crisis center in Stamford, I’ve witnessed firsthand the trauma and anguish faced by survivors and their loved ones. Today’s vote is an important step forward for victims and for public safety, and I want to thank all of the State Senators who voted in favor of this legislation today.”
The legislation is Senate Bill 17, An Act Concerning Procedures Related to Collecting and Processing Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits. The bill:
• Requires the state to continue maintaining the electronic tracking system for sexual assault evidence kits that was recently implemented, which includes affixing barcodes to every kit and providing training to staff and law enforcement on the guidelines around the use of kid-tracking software;
• Requires health care facilities contact a sexual assault victim advocate upon the arrival of a victim at their facility, which is imperative to ensuring victims are properly supported after a traumatic experience; and
• Requires the Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations to develop policies and procedures to ensure victims have access to information regarding their kit, including information about when the kit is tested, whether DNA from the kit was entered into a state or federal DNA data bank, and whether the sample matches a profile in such a DNA data bank.
The bill must next be approved in the House of Representatives by May 9 before Governor Malloy can sign it into law.
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman