(MADISON) – Today, two critical pieces of legislation regarding sexual assault kits co-authored by Senator Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) were passed by the Senate.
According to the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, our state is responsible for 6,837 unsubmitted sexual assault kits and 4,471 kits that are still designated for testing that is not yet complete. Attorney General Josh Kaul has already begun work to reduce this backlog and our work in the legislature will serve to match his efforts.
“As the medical examiner in St. Croix County, I value the quality and integrity of the work completed at our state crime labs. Yet this backlog is unacceptable because justice delayed for these survivors of sexual assault is justice denied. I took action to develop solutions to support survivors, and I’m proud that the Senate has voted in support of my proposals,” said Senator Schachtner.
Senator Schachtner and Senator Robert Cowles (R- Green Bay) introduced Senate Bill 200 to establish timelines and protocol for nurses and members of law enforcement to prevent a future backlog. It also ensures a proper chain of evidence, preserving these kids through the statute of limitations, and will help deliver the justice that these survivors deserve.
Senator Schachtner also joined Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) in drafting Senate Bill 332, which will create a Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Tracking system. An accessible tracking system is a recommended best practice and Wisconsin has fallen behind other states. This legislation will enable survivors to track the location and status of their kit, providing more transparency and opportunity for self-advocacy.
“These bipartisan reforms will help protect the integrity of our criminal justice system and ensure that survivors of sexual assault are not re-victimized by preventable backlogs,” continued Senator Schachtner.