SC rape kit tracking system still in development more than a year after due date

A statewide tracking system for sexual assault kits that was supposed to be in place more than a year ago is still in development.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A statewide system for tracking rape kits in South Carolina, more than a year overdue, is still in development.

On Monday the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issued its semiannual report to the House Judiciary Committee about the status of the system, which is mandatory for the state under a law signed in 2020.

Monday’s status report says SLED “continues to make substantial strides” but the project is still in development. The agency is working with InVita Healthcare Technologies to develop software for tracking rape kits specifically tailored to the state’s needs.

Under the law, every medical facility, law enforcement agency and forensic lab in the state involved in the handling of sexual assault kits was required to be using the system by June 2022. Earlier this year, we confirmed the system had not yet been implemented.

SLED has signed off on the system specifications and said in the coming months, their forensic technology department will have to facilitate quality assurance testing of the program. They also have to coordinate building templates for system users.

According to the report, after those processes are complete, the next step will be to roll out the pilot program. Then eventually they will implement it for the entire state. SLED Chief Mark Keel says in the letter that the agency remains optimistic the system will be in place by the end of the year.

SLED has not received state funding for the system, which they initially estimated would cost $150,000. The agency has had to work to secure money for the project.

FOX Carolina reached out to lawmakers who sponsored the legislation for more information, but we have not received a response.

The Julie Valentine Center shared the following statement after the updated report was released:

“We are pleased to see progress being made towards the launch of a Statewide Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System. This tracking system will empower survivors and promote accountability within the systems that serve them. Survivors deserve access to information about their kits and where they are in the process. Julie Valentine Center remains committed to advocating for services that empower survivors including a sexual assault kit tracking system and testing of sexual assault kits.”

Below is a full copy of the July 31 report: