SAN DIEGO, CA(May 4, 2016) – Councilmember Alvarez today raised questionsat the San Diego City Council’s Budget Review Committee about why more sexualassault evidence kits (commonly referred to as a rape kit) aren’t tested by theSan Diego Police Department (SDPD).
In order to provide biological evidenceto SDPD officers investigating their cases, victims of sexual assault canchoose to undergo a physical examination. The evidence collected during thisexam is stored in a sexual assault evidence kit. SDPD then chooses whether tosend these kits to the crime lab for analysis.
“It is very concerning that less thanhalf of these kits are being tested,” said Alvarez. “The City needs to ensure that everything isbeing done to fully comply with standards in State law, to provide sexualassault victims the answers they rightfully deserve, and to immediatelybring perpetrators to justice.”
A State audit in 2014found that the SDPD only tested 47% of the sexual assault evidence kits itbooked into evidence, even though other agencies have found benefits fromtesting all kits that are collected. In response to the audit, SDPD agreed thatif it chose not to test a sexual assault evidence kit, that it would documentthe reasons why. A State law (AB1517, passed in 2014) encourages California law enforcement agenciesto test all sexual assault evidence kits collected after January 1, 2016 in atimely manner. To ensure that the City is standing up for victims of sexualassault and that the SDPD is meeting all the benchmarks outlined by the State,Alvarez has requested more information from SDPD on compliance.