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Senate passes bill to help victims of sexual assault keep informed of case status

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SALT LAKE CITY — Victims of sexual assault will receive improved communication from law enforcement about their cases under a bill passed by the Utah Legislature.

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed HB157, which now goes to the governor for his signature. The bill received unanimous endorsement from the House last week.

The bill, sponsored by House Minority Leader Jen Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, provides guidance to law enforcement agencies on communication with sexual assault victims concerning forensic exams, including rape kits.

HB157 requires that victims be informed whether evidence is collected, submitted for DNA analysis and if the analysis yielded results, such as a DNA profile match. The bill also states that victims must be notified 60 days before evidence is disposed of or destroyed.

"There is a backlog," Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, the bill's House sponsor, said after a question about processing rape kits. "And that’s part of the intention of this bill, to let the victims have more of an active role in this so they can monitor that something is moving forward, and if it's not, they can help move something forward."

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Madeleine Brown


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