Backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the state of Missouri was one of Schmitt’s top priorities
JEFFERSON CITY –– On Wednesday, August 7, Missouri Attorney General announced new inventory completion percentages for hospitals and law enforcement agencies as part of his SAFE Kits Initiative.
As of the end of July, 95.6% of law enforcement agencies in the state have completed their inventory and 98.5% of hospitals and Veterans Affairs medical facilities have completed their inventory.
“When I entered office, addressing the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the state of Missouri was one of my top priorities. To address the issue, we took action and launched the SAFE Kits Initiative earlier in the year, with Judge M. Keithley Williams leading the effort. Since then, Judge Williams and her team have worked nonstop to successfully make tangible progress in eliminating this backlog,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “With these updated numbers, we are nearing the completion of the inventory phase of the SAFE Kits Initiative, a huge milestone in eliminating the backlog of untested sexual assault kits. We want to honor the courage and bravery of those who submit to a sexual assault kit by ensuring the kit doesn’t sit on a shelf for years – with this progress we are doing exactly that.”
Attorney General Schmitt launched the SAFE Kits Initiative on February 27, 2019, and appointed Judge M. Keithley Williams to lead the effort. Made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the SAFE Kits Initiative seeks to eliminate the backlog of untested sexual assault kits through gathering an inventory, creating an electronic tracking system, and eventually testing certain kits to hold offenders accountable.
Additionally, Schmitt has hosted two Multi-Disciplinary Groups with a wide range of stakeholders, including victim advocates, nurses, law enforcement officials, hospital officials, prosecutors, and more. In these “working groups,” the SAFE Kits Initiative’s progress and challenges moving forward are presented and discussed.
Schmitt also recently visited Mercy Hospital and the police department in Springfield to discuss challenges and successes of the SAFE Kits Initiative with nurses and law enforcement officials, as well as tour facilities.