Attorney General Fox Announces Sex Assault Kit Tracking System Completion
Attorney General Tim Fox today announced the completion of Montana’s Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System. The system, which launches September 1, will be used by sex assault survivors, health care professionals, and law enforcement agencies statewide.
The Montana Department of Justice designed the Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System to serve as a hub for confidential information while enabling survivors to remain updated in real-time on the status of their kit. Survivors will be able to trace their kit’s cycle through the criminal justice system, including its distribution, inventory, collection at a health care facility, storage by law enforcement agencies, analysis at a crime lab, and storage. When their kit’s status changes, survivors can opt-in to be notified of that change. The system also offers survivors the option to track the status of their kit anonymously.
Attorney General Fox launched the Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force in 2015 to determine how many evidence kits had never been submitted to the state crime lab for testing, and to develop a plan to address the issue. In 2019, Fox brought forward legislation revising how kits are collected, stored, delivered, and tracked. “Our new tracking system marks a significant change in the law, procedures, and practices related to sex assault kits in Montana. This type of access for victims serves not only as a tracking tool, but provides for better communication among health care professionals, law enforcement, and sex assault survivors across the state,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “My Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force and our team here at the Montana Department of Justice worked hard to develop a system tailored to the needs of our state, and I’m proud of the results.”
Additionally, if a survivor chooses not to report the crime to law enforcement at the time of the sexual assault examination, DOJ’s Office of Victim Services will hold the kit for one year. If the survivor later consents to law enforcement involvement, the kit will be sent for lab analysis. The Montana SAK Tracking System will track these kits as well.
Health care professionals and law enforcement agencies can learn how to use the tracking system by visiting the Montana Department of Justice’s website: https://dojmt.gov/enforcement/specialservices/saki/.
The information contained in the Montana Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System is confidential and not subject to public disclosure.
After Attorney General Fox launched the Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force in 2015, in 2016 the Montana Department of Justice received a National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grant award from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. This grant has been used to test more than 1,200 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, strengthen victim services, prevent revictimization, develop new training materials, create best practices and standards for sexual assault cases, and implement new policies to eradicate the accumulation of untested sexual assault kits. In addition, it provided resources and a partnership to develop Montana’s Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System. More information is available online: https://dojmt.gov/enforcement/specialservices/saki/.