Bonta Announces New Online Portal for Sexual Assault Survivors

California Attorney General Bob Bonta Announces Action Against Tech Firm

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - California Attorney General Rob Bonta Tuesday announced the hiring of the state's first-ever sexual assault evidence outreach coordinator and the launch of a new online portal to allow survivors to track the status of their evidence kits.

"There is no place for sexual assault in California or anywhere," Bonta said in a statement.

"My office is committed to doing everything in our power to support survivors, reduce harm and secure justice," he said. "That's exactly what the new actions we're announcing today are all about -- increasing access to the information to which survivors are entitled under the law and supporting our local partners in their efforts to process sexual assault evidence."

The outreach coordinator, Dr. Sarai Crain, will work directly with law enforcement, medical facilities and other partner organizations to support local efforts to track and process sexual assault evidence.

Together, the new initiatives aim to clear the backlog of sexual assault evidence at the local level, ensure timely processing of sexual assault evidence and increase transparency and access to information for survivors, the attorney general said.

"Dr. Crain is an essential new addition to our team and she will play a vital role in fighting to ensure sexual assault evidence is never again left to gather dust," Bonta said.

"And, as a result of the new portal, survivors will have direct access to critical information. The portal would not be possible without the tireless work of Senator (Connie) Leyva, survivor leaders and advocates across the state who are committed to standing up for those impacted by sexual violence. Together, we will continue to fight against sexual abuse in all its forms."

The new portal is an easy-to-use tool that enables survivors of sexual assault to privately, securely and electronically track the status and location of their sexual assault evidence kit, following a forensic sexual assault medical exam. As a result of the new portal, survivors are now able to learn in real-time whether their sexual assault evidence kit has been received by a law enforcement agency, is in transit to a lab, has been received by a lab, is undergoing DNA analysis or has had DNA analysis completed, Bonta said.

"My sexual assault evidence kit collected dust for nearly a decade after I was raped and robbed at gunpoint," said motivational speaker and author Natasha Alexenko of Natasha's Justice Project/VOICE Amplified.

"I was unaware of the fact that my rape kit had not been processed," she said. "In the interim, the man that assaulted me was on a nationwide crime spree, putting lives in danger. I am inspired by the relentless pursuit of justice and commitment to survivors of sexual violence demonstrated by the California Department of Justice and Attorney General Bonta. This new portal empowers survivors and acknowledges our importance in the investigative process. Survivors matter. Public safety matters."

The portal is accessible online at Individuals without a sexual assault evidence kit number should contact the relevant law enforcement agency and, if necessary, may find additional information through DOJ's Victims' Services Unit.

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