PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Survivors of sexual assault now have a tool to track the status of the police investigations.
The Portland Police Bureau created the Sexual Assault Management System Victim Portal after Oregon HB 4049 passed in 2018. It requires law enforcement to give survivors an anonymous way to track their Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kit.
Survivors will use the number from their SAFE Kit to track the status in the SAMS Victim Portal. For privacy, the system doesn’t use login information.
“Being able to provide survivors with access to real-time updates is a tremendous leap forward in improving our victim-centered approach in these investigations,” PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a press release. “We are excited to be able to share this innovative technology throughout the state.”
The system empowers survivors like Jessica Garcia to be their own advocate.
“It does give some accountability because if you see something is not done and it is about yourself, you are going to take action,” she said.
Garcia was raped in 2014 and for 2 years after the attack, she struggled.
“I didn’t want to leave the house, I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t put makeup on,” Garcia said.
Garcia helped pass a law in Oregon that requires hospitals to have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners after she was turned away at a hospital that didn’t have one.
“It’s important that survivors are able to regain trust in law enforcement,” she said. “Kit tracking allows transparency that in private years we have found lacking.”
The SAMS Victim Portal will be available statewide by July 31.
This comes after a major effort in Oregon to process a backlog of 5,000 kits.