Georgias Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) has announced the pilot sites for its new sexual assault kit tracking system. CJCC and its partners have begun the pilot initiative in Athens-Clarke, Richmond, Dougherty, Carroll, Gwinnett, and Chatham counties this month. The creation of the system is meant to prevent sexual assault kit backlogs. It is a significant step in the fight for justice for victims of sexual assault, as it will enable survivors to track the status of their kit as it moves through the criminal justice system. The sexual assault tracking system is a win for victims and law enforcement, said First Lady Marty Kemp. Im thankful to CJCC for their great work to ensure victims of sexual assault across Georgia are responded to and cared for in an effective way.
The tracking system is mandated by House Bill 255, The Sexual Assault Reform Act of 2021, which passed unanimously through the House and Senate and was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Brian Kemp. In Georgia, the safety of our citizens is our top priority, said Governor Kemp. The sexual assault kit tracking system developed by CJCC is a major step forward in the states ability to hold violent offenders accountable while supporting victims. The law allows CJCC to create a tracking system of sexual assault kits from initial collection through receipt, analysis, and storage. In addition to law enforcement, the reform act requires all forensic medical providers and the state crime lab to participate in the system and to provide updated information on any sexual assault kits in their possession. CJCC obtained funding to create the system by a competitive grant application to the United States Department of Justice that resulted in a $1.2 million award to the state. CJCC awarded a contract to Caliber Public Safety to develop the system and meet the customized needs identified by the project.
The bill sponsor, State Rep. Scott Holcomb, says, This legislation was developed collaboratively by the states experts in best practice in sexual assault response. It is the next step forward. The sexual assault tracking system will provide updates to survivors as well as information about the incidence of these crimes to policymakers and law enforcement.
Survivors of sexual assault will have access to the system via a website created by CJCC to provide transparency in sexual assault investigations. CJCC anticipates the system will be fully functioning by November 2021, and all required agencies must be registered and using the system by June 30, 2022. The system will not track evidence collected prior to the launch of the system. However, survivors of sexual assault who believe their sexual assault kit may have been a part of a previous sexual assault kit backlog can visit https://notify.svrga.org for more information.