A reminder on positive steps Virginia’s former Governor, Tim Kaine established under his leadership for victims of sexually violent crimes in Virginia.
On September 28th, 2009, Governor Kaine signed into place Executive Order 92 This order directs the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services of the Department of General Services to accept and to store physical evidence recovery kits received from health care providers.
Under Section B of 19.2-165.1 of the Code of Virginia, “victims complaining of sexual assault shall not be required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement authorities in order to be provided with such forensic medical exams.”
Then Governor Kaine heard the issues that arose from between the regulations that victims can request physical evidence recovery kits prior to reporting to law enforcement and the lack of requirement of law enforcement to pick up the kits in the absence of a report. Many victims need more than 72 hours to make the decision to report. Additionally, sometimes law enforcement chooses not to pursue taking a report if they are uncertain of the evidence. This left victims often without recourse to get evidence collected and the kits established without reporting first. This provision now allows victims to request kits and allows forensic nurses to mail the kits to consolidated labs in a manner that retains the chain of custody. Once the report is made, the kits can then be examined and the evidence collected used in the prosecution of the case.
Yeah to Tim Kaine!! This sensitive and timely act has helped to encourage victims to get the evidence collected in the required time period and facilitate investigation and prosecution.