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Sex-Assault Victims in Maryland Track Rape Kits Through Bar Codes

A new statewide online system will allow Maryland sexual-assault victims to anonymously keep track of sexual-assault evidence. Through the new system, called Track-Kit, unique bar codes will be added to all sexual assault evidence kits collected in the state, the Associated Press reports. Once a forensic exam is completed at a hospital, the victim will be given a bar code number and password. Law enforcement will scan the bar code when they assume custody of the kit.


In the coming months, bar codes also will be applied to all existing kits, including those maintained in police storage units or crime labs. “For survivors, that means you can go into the tracking system 24/7, 365 days a year, armed with your bar code number and password and track the progress of your kit, from the hospital, through law enforcement, to the lab for testing then back to the appropriate agency,” said Anthony Brown, the state’s attorney general.  Such tracking systems, which now exist in about 40 states, “provide transparency and accountability within the rape kit handling process, so what was really a process before that was in the dark has now come into the light,” said Ilse Knecht, a policy and advocacy director for the Joyful Heart Foundation, a New York-based national organization that focuses on changing society’s response to sexual assault.

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