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Wisconsin sexual assault kit bill moves forward

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW)- It was just a few years ago when thousands of sexual assault test kits were left sitting on shelves and untested in Wisconsin for years.

However, with a public push from attorney general Josh Kaul efforts are being made to make sure that backlog never happens again.

Some believe having evidence collected after being assaulted is like being violated again.

"It can be painful their cloths are taken into evidence so they are really vulnerable and now they are going through this whole process," said Jane Graham Jennings the executive director of the Women's Community.
Jennings said not knowing if the evidence will go anywhere makes it worse.

"They need to know the system cares about them," she said.

The bill which first came up earlier this year is supposed to keep sexual assault test kits from going months or even years without being tested.

At first, republican law maker Joe Sanfelippo wasn't in support of it.

That changed after a public push from Kaul on Tuesday.

The proposal would set new time lines and protocols for nurses, victims and members of law enforcement.

Under the bill with the consent of the victim the kit would need to be taken to the lab within 72 hours.

"If they are not reporting then I sent it within 48 hours which is less than the amount of time in the new legislation to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab," said Sandra Wolf a forensic nurse at Aspirus.

Wolf who specializes in this said this will likely bring more victims forward.

Right now in Marathon County there are currently 77 sexual assault test kits being tested.

In this bill victims have the right to get evidence collected and opt-out of reporting the assault for up to 10 years.

In the last year Aspirus reports collecting more than 50 assault kits.

Governor Tony Evers said he will sign the bill when it gets to his desk, though that will likely happen after the new year.

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