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Sex assault victims can track rape kits in online system

Victims can track their sexual assault kit during every stage of the process thanks to a new system that's been fully rolled out in Washington state.

A first-of-its-kind sexual assault kit tracking system is now fully implemented in Washington, state patrol announced Tuesday.

Each kit will have a barcode, and the online system lets sexual assault victims track the progress of their case as it moves forward.

“The primary purpose behind this system is to help survivors get some answers,” Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a statement. “That was the difficult part for a lot of the survivors, is that they had no idea where their kits were.”

The system was modeled after a similar one in Canada, but Washington State Patrol says it’s the first one in the United States that offers victims a fully secure login to track kits.

Victims, as well as prosecutors, medical staff, and police, can access the system on mobile devices and view workload forecasting.

A Washington Attorney General’s Office report released earlier this month found 6,460 sexual assault kits were booked as evidence but were never submitted for testing. Many of the kits – including one from 1982 – have been sitting in storage facilities for years.

Washington is also working through a backlog of sexual assault kits, which is estimated at about 10,000 kits. In August, state patrol said it was taking over 500 days to test lower priority kits and several months to test higher priority ones.

RELATED: Washington team follows Ohio's lead to clear rape kit backlog

State patrol says the new tracking system will hopefully keep victims informed to the status of their case and know where their rape kit is currently.

“In addition to the transparency this system provides, it gives the survivor a sense of security knowing their kit has not been forgotten, misplaced or destroyed,” Batiste said in a statement.

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