CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - There is a new plan to make sure justice is not delayed for rape victims.
So how do lawmakers plan to clear out the backlog of hundreds of thousands of rape kits?
A bi-partisan group of senators has introduced the sexual assault forensic evidence registry, also known as the SAFER Act.
Basically, it'll provide federal funds to audit evidence lock-ups across the country looking for untested sexual assault evidence kits.
Right now it's estimated there's a nationwide back log of as many as 400,000 rape kits that have not been tested.
The SAFER Act would also create a registry to help track rape kits and help to track existing funding that's meant to help law enforcement pay for testing.
In Illinois, a law that's already on the books is helping whittle down the backlog in the Land of Lincoln.
"That law required that when a kit was completed it was taken by the police to the crime lab and not stored in a law enforcement agency for an extended period of time," said Megan Jones-Williams, Carbondale Women's Center Rape Crisis Services Coordinator. "So it gets them to the lab so they can get tested sooner."
Sexual assault victim advocates say completing a rape kit is a very invasive procedure after a victim has already endured a very traumatic event. So to leave that evidence sitting on a shelf only victimizes them further.
Still in Illinois a spokesman for senator Mark Kirk says over the past decade only 6% of reported rapes have had kits tested, which is something lawmakers hope to change through the safer act.