Eau Claire (WQOW) - New data from the Wisconsin Department of Justice show thousands of sexual assault kits across the state haven't been tested, and weren't even sent to the state crime lab.
So where did they go?
The process begins at the hospital, where sexual assault victims get exams and any support they want. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital said if a kit is used, which includes swabs for DNA testing, the sealed containers are either handed directly to police from the jurisdiction where the incident happened, (that's if the patient is considering filing charges) otherwise, the kits are sent to the crime lab for safe keeping.
This is where we find the hitch in the plan, according to a USA Today report, often it's police departments choosing not to test these kits, citing legal or bureaucratic reasons.
Robin Shultz is Director of Emergency Services at HSHS Sacred Heart and said at their spot in the process, they try to do whatever they can.
"We really want to offer those patients a peace of mind that we'll help, we'll give you next steps and we'll help plan care from there on," Schultz said.
Numbers from the DOJ show 85 un-submitted kits in Eau Claire County, with Eau Claire Police in possession of 46 of those kits.