(BCN) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a state Senate bill into law Friday that prohibits the DNA collected from sexual assault victims to be used for anything other than identifying the suspect.
Senate Bill 1228 was introduced by San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener after the San Francisco Police Department was accused of using DNA from a victim’s rape kit to link her to a separate suspected crime earlier this year. When victims report a sexual assault, they can consent to a sexual assault examination, where biological evidence from bodily fluids, fingernail scrapings, and bite and scratch marks is collected from the victim’s body.
The victim submits their own DNA sample in order to exclude their DNA from an investigation. Additional samples may be collected from those who have close contact with the victim, such as consensual sexual partners and family members.
Federal law already prohibits the inclusion of victims’ DNA in the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the DNA database used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This corresponding state law prohibits local authorities from retaining and using the sexual assault victims’ DNA samples for other purposes.
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“Today, California showed once again that we stand with survivors of sexual assault,” said Sen. Scott Wiener. “This law is a meaningful change for those going through what are likely some of the worst moments of their life.”
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