New site allows sex assault victims to track rape kit testing status

New site allows sex assault victims to track rape kit testing status

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state unveiled a new website Friday aimed at helping track the hundreds of sex assault kits that still haven't been tested for DNA.

Some 1,386 Hawaii kits are still scheduled to be sent to labs for testing. So far, 532 have already been submitted.

The site, Malama Kakou, allows victims to inquire about the status of their kits and get more information on the process.

"It's a great first step to let survivors know what happened to their kit," said state Rep. Linda Ichiyama, part of the Women's Legislative Caucus.

The site breaks down the kits by county.

Hawaii is not alone in the battle to clear the backlog.

State Attorney General Doug Chin said that's why the state can't submit all the tests at once.

"It's a challenge of capacity for all of the labs to be able to test all of the kits so we send them incrementally," he said.

Members of the Women's Legislative Caucus have found multiple federal grants that will pay for the testing, so it's not a matter of cost.

Kits have already linked suspects to other crimes, both here and on the mainland. And not just sex assaults: Suspected rapists have also been connected to robberies and burglaries when the DNA is entered into the national database.

A Hawaii News Now investigation last year found that more than 1,000 sex assault kits were destroyed by the Honolulu Police Department.

New policies were put into place to prevent the destruction, with a few exceptions.

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