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Source: US State of Missouri

Jefferson City — Governor Mike Parson signed into law groundbreaking legislation sponsored by State Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, to streamline the process for testing rape kits in Missouri. Senator Koenig filed this legislation to combat the over 6,800 untested sexual assault kits in the state and help bring justice for thousands of victims and survivors.

“My legislation puts an end to the grievous harm that has been inflicted on too many sexual assault victims and survivors in our state,” said Sen. Koenig. “Survivors will no longer have to suffer in silence. They will finally have the resources and support needed to find closure.”

Senate Bill 569 establishes a secure, electronic tracking system for sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kits. This legislation strengthens investigations and prosecution of rapists and sexual abusers by reforming the handling, tracking and processing of sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kits in Missouri.

“This is about justice and closure for survivors,” Sen. Koenig said. “Too many rapists – possibly even serial rapists – and other sexual offenders are still walking the streets today because of this failure. Today, that ends.”

In addition to the SAFE kit tracking reforms, Senate Bill 812 was added to SB 569. This language establishes the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which provides rights and protections for survivors of sexual assault during any medical examination or interaction with law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney. Senate Bill 951 was also added to SB 569. This language establishes the Justice for Survivors Act, which directs the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a statewide telehealth network to provide forensic exams for victims of sexual assault.

“Senate Bill 569 demonstrates our state’s commitment to supporting victims of sexual assault by giving them the rights and protections they deserve,” said Sen. Koenig. “I am very grateful for the governor’s support in helping sexual assault victims and survivors in our state.”