Iowa’s future rape kit tracking system could help empower survivors

By Kayla James | November 13, 2019

A near $800,000 federal grant will be used to add a system to Iowa keeping track of rape tests kits from start to finish.

The digital system is called Track-Kit. It’s made by company STACS DNA that follows where a test kit is located.

“It will allow everybody who works in the medical and justice systems to understand how these kits move through the process,” says Lynn Hicks, the communications director for Iowa’s Attorney General Office.

The system is an effort to provide frequent transparent status updates to survivors of rape as well as law enforcement and medical professionals. More importantly, it allows survivors to keep track of the kit, while receiving confidential information and contact information to local sexual assault resources.

“Looking at this tracking system is a way to put the victim back into control of at least this one aspect,” says Matty Tate-Smith, the communications specialist with the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The implementation of the systems comes as a result of the more than 4,200 untested sexual assault evidence kits found stored in police departments and sheriff’s office across Iowa in 2017. More than 1,200 have been tested and 235 DNA profiles have been entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

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