Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Mark Glass announced last week that survivors of sexual violence now have a tool to follow the path of their sexual assault evidence collection kits (SAKs).
Based on a law passed in 2021, the state implemented a web-based tracking system that allows survivors to monitor the location and processing of their barcoded sexual assault kits (SAK) and be notified if a DNA match to an alleged perpetrator occurs.
Previous legislation (F.S. 943.326) required law enforcement to submit SAKs to labs within 30 days and created a 120-day mandatory turnaround time for testing. But the 2021 Gail’s Law (HB 673) took things one step further and gave survivors the power to know the status of their kits throughout the process.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “In 2019, Florida eliminated the backlog of untested sexual assault kits, and today’s announcement is the next, great step forward in supporting victims of sexual assault and empowering survivors to keep track of the evidence in their case as law enforcement and prosecutors fight for justice.”
State CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “In Florida, it’s important that we support survivors of sexual assault and do everything in our power to track down sexual predators. As CFO, I’ve supported measures to crack down on human trafficking and sexual misconduct in our state. These are crimes that are not just heinous, they also leave a lasting emotional impact on the victim and their family for the rest of their lives. I am thankful to FDLE for ensuring sexual assault survivors now have new technology to make what can be a confusing and difficult process more transparent and efficient.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson said, “As Senate President, I was proud to support funding for this important system providing survivors access to and control over this critical information. Now, as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, I will continue to do all that I can to support the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and this initiative that is giving power back to those who need it most.”