Silver Spring, Md., October 26, 2020 — The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault has opened dedicated hotlines for sexual assault survivors interested in learning the status of their sexual assault evidence kits. These kits contain evidence collected during sexual assault forensic exams and are commonly referred to as “rape kits.” Maryland, which has over 6,000 untested kits, is actively working to submit these kits for testing.
Sexual assault survivors in Maryland can call 833-364-0046 to opt-in to receiving information about their untested sexual assault evidence kits. The new hotline is part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) and will be open Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. MCASA Executive Director, Lisae C Jordan, noted, “This project provides Maryland survivors with power and control over how, when, and why they are contacted about their sexual assault evidence kits. Ultimately, we want survivors to be as involved in their case as they want to be.” Survivors can also expect to receive an apology for how their case was handled previously.
The project is part of a nationwide effort to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits. SAKI grants provides federal funding to inventory untested rape kits, test kits, and support survivors whose kits are being tested. Maryland’s SAKI project addresses untested kits collected before May 2018; information about kits collected after that time is provided by the investigating law enforcement agency under Maryland law. Plans to actively reach out to survivors are being delayed during the COVID crisis out of concern that unsolicited calls will add to the already traumatic and stressful nature of the pandemic. At least for the near future, SAKI will not be reaching out to survivors unless they opt-in.
MCASA is the federally-recognized state sexual assault coalition and responsible for certifying comprehensive rape crisis/sexual assault programs to ensure services are survivor centered. MCASA's core members are the State's 17 rape crisis centers, and the Coalition also represents the voices of many other member professionals, programs, and individuals committed to ending sexual violence. MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. MCASA is the leading public policy advocate for survivors of sexual assault in Annapolis and more information about legislative priorities, public events, and services for survivors can be found at www.mcasa.org.