October 20, 2016
Boston – Senator Richard Ross joined colleagues in applauding the swift passage of legislation relative to the preservation of evidence for victims of rape and sexual assault. The bill passed the legislature overwhelmingly, and was signed into law by Governor Charles D. Baker. The new law requires that all presently held physical evidence of rape and sexual assault is to be preserved for 15 years to correspond with the statute of limitations. Senator Ross has been very supportive of this legislation passing in the senate.
“This new law brings us just one step closer to ending rape culture in Massachusetts,” said Senator Ross. “Six months is not nearly enough time to cope with the realities of rape or sexual assault, let alone consider the legal action one would like to take.”
Previous state law required such evidence to be preserved for at least six months where formal criminal charges were not filed. After the six months, the evidence could be disposed unless the victim requested its preservation. In order for sexual assault evidence to remain preserved with no supporting criminal charges, this process needed to be repeated every six months to ensure the evidence would not be destroyed.
The bill also describes the need for a centralized storage facility for preserved evidence. Until a storage unit can be constructed, individual police departments will continue to maintain rape kits in their possession.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.