TRENTON, N.J. – The attorney general is required to conduct a survey of untested rape kits under a new law signed yesterday by Gov. Phil Murphy. Assemblywoman Nancy F. Munoz sponsors the bill (S1216/A2370) to support victims of sexual violence and get predators off the streets.
“The DNA in any one of those kits could be the key to taking serial offenders off the streets,” said Munoz (R-Union).
The signing comes on the heels of a report by the state auditor that found inconsistencies in the way law enforcement agencies handle untested rape kits.
“Thanks to the recent findings from the state auditor, we have a better understanding of the magnitude of untested rape kits in the state, but there is more we need to know,” said Munoz. “More knowledge equals better policy. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect and support victims of sexual violence.”
The new law calls on the AG’s office to survey every law enforcement agency in the state to gather statistical information on rape kits currently in their possession and their policies and procedures for testing, tracking and storing kits. A report on the findings will be submitted to the governor and Legislature.
“Survivors of rape and sexual assault deserve to know that their cases are treated with the utmost importance and diligence,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The survey that this law mandates will provide us with a clear picture of how rape kits are logged, tracked, and stored in our state and guide decisions on potential future actions.”