Over the past week, questions have been raised about the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) and handling of “rape kits” or Sexual Assault Response Team Kits (SART kits). Let’s answer those questions and set the record straight:
Does SRPD have adequate funding to test SART kits?
Yes. SRPD spends approximately $70,000 annually for survivors of sexual assault to be examined by a trained forensic examiner for the collection of evidence. After EVERY examination, evidence is submitted directly to the Department of Justice for testing. SRPD has never denied an exam or submission of evidence from that exam due to cost.
Under what circumstances would SRPD NOT test a SART kit?
Sometimes victims of sexual assault want an examination but wish to remain anonymous. In these instances, SRPD will authorize an exam and a sexual assault advocate will retain the victim’s name. SRPD will maintain the kit as evidence but will not submit the kit to the Department of Justice. SRPD will retain the kits for ten years, in case the victim changes his/her mind and wishes to proceed with a criminal investigation. At that point, SRPD would proceed with testing of the kit.
Additionally, SRPD works collaboratively with VERITY, an organization that supports survivors of sexual assault, in assisting sexual assault survivors and their families. For more information about Verity, please visit their website at https://www.ourverity.org or call 707-545-7273.
The Santa Rosa Police Department has always, and will continue to take sexual assault allegations very seriously and investigate to the fullest extent possible.