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Bill to track rape kits in South Carolina passes Senate

March 10, 2020 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill requiring state police to set up a system to track evidence collected during sexual assault investigations received key approval Tuesday in the state Senate.

Currently in South Carolina there is no system to track the evidence, called rape kits, and victims often have no idea if police have tested the evidence.

The House passed the bill to create the database last year. The Senate version made small changes like moving the date to start the database to 2022 and shielding victim information from becoming public so the House will either accept the changes or the two chambers will have to negotiate.

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The bill was prompted by an investigation by WYFF-TV. The stories prompted a survey of untested rape kits by the State Law Enforcement Division in late 2018, which found nearly 1,800 untested rape kits. But nearly two-thirds of agencies across the state didn’t answer the survey.

Supporters of the bill said merchandise bought from Amazon can be tracked from its manufacturer halfway around the world all the way to a front door so South Carolina should be able to track rape kits.