Rape victims in Washington can now track status of rape kits online

SEATTLE -- Up to 10,000 rape kits in Washington state have yet to be tested and it's left a lot of survivors in limbo.

"It is impossible to navigate this system," said Leah Griffin, who was raped in 2014.

"I assumed that when I went through the six-hour procedure to have a rape kit done that it would result in an investigation, that police would test that kit and look at the evidence," she said. "I didn't find out until months later that they had no intention of testing my rape kit."

Griffin spent those months futilely waiting by the phone for investigators to follow up. A year later, she helped pass state legislation that mandated testing rape kits.

Now it's her hope that a new website tracking rape kits will give victims information that she never had.

"Victims will be able to take back some control over this process that sometimes feels like it's happening to you, that they're being victimized again," she said.

Capt. Monica Alexander of the Washington State Patrol showed Q13 News the website on the day it went live in 10 counties. There is a scheduled roll out for the rest of the state that will take several months to complete.

The system is for hospitals, law enforcement and, most notably, victims.

Once survivors leave the hospital, they will be able to go to the website, log in with their personal bar code and password and be able to find out exactly where the kit is in the process.

On one page, he or she can see the kit's progress, find the law enforcement contact and get community help.

"It gives them something to ask, something to see and to know that they're not being ignored," Alexander said.

It's something Griffin wishes she could have had.

"We need to do better and we are doing better," she said. "It's better now in Washington state than it was four years ago."

But until all of the backlogged kits are tested and investigated, there's still work to do.