New Mass law will guarantee preservation of sexual assault evidence

This follows a federal Sexual Assault Bill of Rights signed by President Obama on October 7.

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Governor Charlie Baker signed a new law to protect the evidence collected from rape and sexual assault victims. The new state law requires crime labs to preserve evidence from rape and sexual assault victims for at least fifteen years, which is the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault charges.

Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law Wednesday surrounded by advocates, state lawmakers and rape survivors. Up until now, rape kits were kept for up to six months and would be disposed of unless the victim pressed charges or petitioned that the evidence be preserved. Several state lawmakers and advocates believe the current practice forces rape victims to re-live traumatizing experiences.

One survivor said that automatically preserving rape kits for fifteen years will lift a burden off victims who may want to file charges later. "Today represents justice," Amanda Nguyen, the founder of RISe told 22News, "not only for me, but for the hundreds of thousands of rape survivors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

The law will go into effect in 90 days to give State Police crime labs enough time to roll out these new regulations.

H. 4364, An Act relative to the preservation of evidence for victims of rape and sexual assault provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

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