The Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act mandates the DOH as the responsible agency, with concurrence of PSP and in consultation with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), for approving certain laboratories to receive sexual assault evidence for testing and analysis. Additionally, the act mandates the DOH to annually collect data on backlogged sexual assault evidence from laboratories and local law enforcement.
To better set these standards and collect more accurate data, the PSP and DOH have agreed to work collectively. PSP will now assist in establishing the forensic laboratory guidelines and gathering backlogged data from laboratories and local law enforcement agencies.
"This is a great example of state agencies working together toward a common goal," said State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker. "With this working relationship, the requirements of the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act will be more effectively implemented. We are fully committed to ending the sexual assault evidence backlog and will work diligently to achieve this goal."
DOH has already taken several proactive steps to deal with the backlog:
- DOH has worked with PA District Attorneys Association, the PA Coalition on Rape, and PSP to communicate the new reporting requirements under Act 27 to local police departments, as well as reaching out to them individually.
- DOH contacted police departments to collect an inventory of backlogged kits and kits in their possession and made the necessary reporting forms available on its website, as well as published a notice of the reporting requirement in the PA Bulletin.
- DOH has conducted free training sessions across the state open to all state and local law enforcement agencies regarding Act 27.
- DOH and PSP have also worked with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to determine whether additional standards for laboratories are required.
MEDIA CONTACT: Cpl. Adam Reed, PSP, 717-783-5556 or April Hutcheson, DOH, 717-787-1783
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-state-police-and-department-of-health-sign-agreement-to-streamline-sexual-assault-evidence-procedures-300323203.html
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health; Pennsylvania State Police