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DOJ Launches Program To Address Backlog Of Untested Sexual Assault Evidence Kits

'By Your Side' Program Reaches Out To Victims With Untested Kits

Sexual assault evidence kit
Pat Sullivan/AP Photo

The Wisconsin Department of Justice and a sexual assault prevention group unveiled a new program Monday aiming to decrease the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits in the state.

The initiative called “By Your Side” involves reaching out to victims who have had evidence kits collected to see if they’d like the evidence tested. If not, the kit will be removed from the list.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said he hopes the program will help apprehend more perpetrators of sexual assault.

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“The only way we can hold offenders accountable is through the courage of survivors who are willing to speak up, and we’re hoping that we’ll find many that will be willing to be a part of this process,” Schimel said.

The attorney general said there are currently about 6,000 untested sexual assault kits at hospitals and law enforcement offices across Wisconsin.

The new program was funded by $4 million in federal grants, and is being administered in conjunction with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the attorney general’s statewide Sexual Assault Response Team.

Survivors who contact the state or advocacy organizations through By Your Side for information about their untested kits, or kits they believe may be untested, will also be connected with support services.

To check the status of an evidence kit, contact By Your Side at 1-800-446-6564 or visit ByYourSideWI.org