GREAT FALLS — Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced on Thursday the completion of Montana’s Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System.
The system, scheduled to launch September 1, will be used by sex assault survivors, health care professionals, and law enforcement agencies across the state.
A press release from the Montana Department of Justice explains that the system is designed 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.
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 by clicking here .
The information contained in the Montana Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System is confidential and not subject to public disclosure.
The MT DOJ 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.
Fox said, “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."