JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri hospitals will be required to provide rape kits to sexual assault victims beginning in 2023, under legislation signed into law Monday.
The new requirement is among eight separate laws signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson Monday. The deadline for the governor to act on the remaining legislation on his desk is Tuesday.
Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, pushed for the addition of the rape kit provision, saying sexual assault victims have been turned away by hospitals because there are few nurses certified to perform exams used to collect evidence in a sexual assault.
Under the new law, specialists could coach uncertified nurses through an exam via videoconferencing. The requirement would only kick in if a statewide health videoconferencing service is funded and in place.
Other parts of the new law, which was sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, would require the Missouri Department of Public Safety to store rape kits from victims who don’t immediately choose to press charges. The kits would be kept in a central storage facility for five years.
The new law also establishes an electronic tracking system for the kits.
“My legislation puts an end to the grievous harm that has been inflicted on too many sexual assault victims and survivors in our state,” Koenig said. “Survivors will no longer have to suffer in silence. They will finally have the resources and support needed to find closure.”
The legislation is Senate Bill 569.