Crime, Law and Justice

New Minnesota rape kit tracking system promises more accountability

Rep. Marion O'Neill looks through a sexual assault evidence collection kit
Rep. Marion O'Neill looks through a sexual assault evidence collection kit during testimony on work done by the Working Group on Untested Rape Kits, during a 2018 meeting of the House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee.
Courtesy of Paul Battaglia

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is rolling out a new system to help survivors of sexual assault track information about their cases.

The BCA will begin using the Track-Kit system statewide this week. The system gives survivors of sexual assault 24/7 online access to information about their sexual assault kit.

The system is part of a mandate from the Minnesota Legislature to give survivors access to information about their kits.

In the past, public safety agencies had inconsistent practices with different timelines for testing and varied procedures for informing survivors. Kits were destroyed when they still could have been used in cases.

BCA leaders hope the new system will give more accountability and transparency to the process.

At the time of collection, kits are assigned a barcode. Survivors, whether they consent to have their kit tested or not, can log in to see the status of the potential evidence. Kits that are not tested will be stored at the BCA so if a survivor decides later to have the kit tested it can be.

The tracking system was implemented region by region across Minnesota. The Arrowhead region, including Duluth, began using the system in early April.

“The BCA stands with Minnesota’s victim survivors. We hope the Track-Kit system relieves uncertainty and gives comfort with the knowledge of exactly where their kit stands in the testing process,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans in a statement.