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Health, law enforcement officials concerned about at-home sexual assault kits

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Health, law enforcement officials concerned about at-home sexual assault kits

Health, law enforcement officials concerned about at-home sexual assault kits

Health and law enforcement officials are concerned about new at-home sexual assault kits.

The companies that make the packages market them as ways to collect evidence if survivors try to pursue charges later, though some worry they may do more harm than good.

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Health, law enforcement officials concerned about at-home sexual assault kits

At stories you need to know today... health and law enforcement officials are concerned about new at- home sexual assault kits.

The companies that make the packages market them as ways to collect evidence if survivors try to pursue charges later.

But as news 8's mal meyer explains... some worry they may do more harm than good.

According to the u.s. department of justice... about 25 percent of sexual assaults were reported to police in 2018... compared to about 40 percent in 2017.

These kits are aimed at suvivors who do not have the ability to go to the police or hospital to gather evidence.

But local health experts are worried that victims are losing out on other sevices... and may not be able to use the evidence they collect.

There's two new at-home kits that are drawing scrutiny-- the metoo kit and preservekit.

"are you a victim of sexual assault?

If you don't get a sexual assault examination by trained personnel, you have the option of saving your evidence and giving it to authorities in the future."

That's a message from preservekit co- founder jane mason.

But there's a few problems with this according to gundersen emergency room nurse miranda schmidt-- one of them being their immediate medical needs.

"the trauma- informed care that we can provide in the emergency department, the medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections and prevent pregnancy as well."

Schmidt and her colleagues are trained in evidence collection and are able to provide a clear chain of custody through the police department and then state crime lab.

"i'm concerned that maybe these kits will not be allowed in court of law because they have been collected at home."

Mason admits to this in a video posted to the product's website.

"it's common sense that people trained in evidence collection could obtain a higher quality of evidence than someone not trained."

But she goes on to claim that collecting your own evidence is the next best thing.

"crime victims give evidence to law enforcement all day, every day.

Sexual assault is no different."

Schmidt worries that taking the at-home kit doesn't address the resources that survivors may need in the days, weeks and years ahead.

"we go step by step and provide them with whatever resources they choose."

One of the problems is costs.

The metoo kit doesn't have a price yet but the preservekit costs about $30 on amazon.

But the violence against women act requires states to provide sexual assault exams for free to recieve critical anti- crime grants.

And gundersen says it would work with people if any additional services are required.

How are law enforcement officials responding to this?

At least one attorney general directly addressed these kits.

The a-g from michigan warned the "me too kits" company is violating several parts of the state's consumer protection act.

It warned the company that it would have to agree not to




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