Ohio leaders say training is needed before they can fully roll out a website to track sexual assault evidence kits through the system.
The website is meant to provide transparency surrounding the collection, submission and analysis of forensic sexual assault kits.
It is being piloted in some areas of the state, including Akron, Delaware, and Clark County. So far, one kit has completed the process – from collection, to the lab, to law enforcement – while being tracked.
But the pandemic slowed the pilot process, says Sandy Huntzinger, victim service coordinator with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
"What we were hearing across the state, as I was having conversations with both law enforcement and health care providers, is that they were seeing a real reduction in survivors coming in to the emergency department to get kits," she says.
The next phase of the app will involve 55 new law enforcement agencies and 47 new hospital systems. Columbus Police will be involved in the next pilot, and will be the largest police department in the state to start using the website.
Law enforcement, medical providers and advocates around the state need training before the system can be launched.
They hope to have the website up and running in all areas of the state by early 2021.