A new online system will let victims of sexual assault track the progress of their rape kits, Illinois State Police announced Wednesday.
The system, named CheckPoint, promises to add transparency to a state testing system notorious for a backlog that, in 2016, delayed results by a whole year.
According to state police, CheckPoint lets victims follow the evidence through the entire process: from collection at the hospital, through law enforcement pick-up and submission to the forensic lab, and ultimately to the state’s attorney’s office where final results are received.
To ensure privacy, the system uses unique case numbers and passwords to limit access to survivors and police, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said in a statement.
“This point-by-point knowledge of the location of their evidence will help to empower survivors and foster public trust in the system,” Kelly said.
CheckPoint is now available at 86% hospitals in Illinois with sex assault treatment plans, according to state police, who are entrusted with processing all DNA evidence from local law enforcement agencies.
The online system has been in the works since 2017, when then-Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission.
In March 2019, state police said the evidence tracking system would be running by the end of the year, but the rollout wouldn’t happen for another nine months.
At the time, Kelly said the tracking system would lay bare the delays in the process: “… I know all stakeholders involved will see many steps that can be taken, both inside and outside the lab, which will reduce turn-around time,” Kelly said in a statement then.
In August 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order forming a task force to tackle the state’s DNA testing backlog that had ballooned from 4,000 unfinished DNA tests in 2016 to more than 8,000.
Since last year, state police have reported a 40% reduction in the backlog.