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Rape Evidence Collection Bill Passes W.Va. Senate

Ashton Marra
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Legislation to regulate and improve the training of nurses who collect forensic evidence in sexual assault cases has passed in both the West Virginia Senate and House.
The Senate passed the bill Thursday to create a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Commission to regulate these specially-trained registered nurses at the county and state levels.

Sen. Corey Palumbo said the bill aims to address inadequacies in the collection of evidence in sexual assault cases. He said not every health facility currently has a trained sexual assault nurse, which can impede or prevent evidence collection.
The bill's sponsor, Del. Barbara Fleischauer, has said the State Forensics Lab estimates up to 75 percent of rape kits have collection or documentation errors.
The bill will now go to the governor.

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