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Gov. Evers signs bills to support survivors of sexual assault

Gov. Evers
Posted at 3:07 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 18:29:16-05

WEST BEND, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed two bills Monday that will support victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Senate Bill 71, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 116, establishes a statutory procedure for collecting and submitting sexual assault kits to state crime laboratories for processing and retention, according to a news release.

Senate Bill 94, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 117, creates a tracking system for survivors to access information about the status of their sexual assault kit a it moves through the criminal justice process.

“Victims and survivors of sexual assault have already gone through the unimaginable, and their path to justice should never be obstructed or delayed,” said Gov. Evers. “I am proud to sign these bills today, increasing transparency and accountability in the state’s testing process for sexual assault kits to help prevent future delays in justice for victims while empowering survivors with resources to track their kits directly.”

The signing took place at FRIENDS Inc., an organization based in West Bend that helps victims of domestic and sexual assault.

"You always want to make sure that survivors know that they're supported, that they're believed and that they have a choice," said FRIENDS Executive Director Kate Nickel. "We want that choice to be as accessible as it can and for them to know that that there is support out there for them."

According to Wi Sexaul Assault Kit Initiative, more than 6,800 sexual assault kits went untested between 2010 and 2015. According to Attorney General Josh Kaul, that backlog was cleared in 2019.

Advocates, like Nickel, hope the new laws will provide accountability so there's never a pile up of test kits like that again.

To learn more about Senate Bill 71, click here.

For more information on Senate Bill 94, click here.

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