Rape kit tracking system launches in Massachusetts, giving survivors online access to track evidence through the testing process
By Melissa Hanson | January 29, 2020
A confidential online system that will allow survivors of rape and sexual assault to track their evidence kit as it moves through the testing process has launched in Massachusetts, officials said Wednesday.
The sexual assault evidence collection kit tracking system, known as Track-Kit, has launched in six of the state’s counties. The system went live in southeastern Massachusetts on Jan. 6. A second regional launch for Central and Western is scheduled for next week. The entire state is expected to have the system by March, according to the office of Gov. Charlie Baker.
Sexual assault evidence kits, also known as rape kits, are collected at hospitals. Medical professionals use cotton swabs and other materials to collect DNA from a survivor’s body. From the hospital, DNA should go to a crime lab for testing.
Track-Kit is mobile-friendly and will allow survivors to follow their kit from collection through the testing process. The system will allow survivors to track kits collected after the regional launch date, the governor’s office wrote in a statement.
The system also makes tracking information available to medical personnel, investigators, crime labs and prosecutors responsible for each kit.
In addition to allowing survivors and authorities to track a kit’s progress, Track-Kit also offers information on local rape crisis center resources; specific contact information at the hospital, police department and district attorney’s office involved in their case; and 24-hour access to technical tracking system support, according to the statement.
The criminal justice reform act, signed by Baker in 2018, granted authority to the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to establish the tracking system. EOPSS asked for input from survivors, victim advocates, public health and public safety officials, crime lab personnel and information technology specialists. After a procurement period, EOPSS contracted with STACS DNA, which has developed similar tracking systems for Arizona, Michigan, Washington, Nevada and Texas.