Rape kits of sexual assault victims in Israel to be maintained for 50 years

Many victims only file a complaint after a long period of time due to the need for recovery after the assault. This bill would abolish the time limit.

Merav Ben-Ari with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, February 1, 2021 (photo credit: RAANAN COHEN)
Merav Ben-Ari with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, February 1, 2021
(photo credit: RAANAN COHEN)

Yesh Atid MK Meirav Ben-Ari successfully passed a bill on Wednesday that regulates the manner in which the rape kits of victims of sexual assault are maintained. Samples taken from victims of sexual assault are kept for the purpose of identifying the perpetrator in a police investigation.

The bill will soon be codified into law, which extends the validity of biological samples for 50 years so that the victims can file a complaint even after a long period of time.

Many victims can take years to reach a place where they are able to file a complaint with the police. This bill would abolish the time limit that samples are kept and thus allow victims who would like to complain to make use of evidence years after the event has occurred.

"This is an important step that returns control to the victims," said Ben-Ari. "I am grateful for the right to alleviate - if only slightly, the complex experience that victims go through to allow them to process the trauma they went through and to approach coming forward at the appropriate time for them."

The bill also gives victims the right to receive information about the sample results taken from their bodies.

Protestors march against sexual violence. Jaffa Street, Jerusalem 2018. (credit: MOOLI GOLDBERG)Protestors march against sexual violence. Jaffa Street, Jerusalem 2018. (credit: MOOLI GOLDBERG)

Yael Scherer, director of the Lobby for the War on Sexual Violence, stated that when she heard a few years ago "that rape kits were destroyed after three months, I told myself I would put an end to it, no matter what. It took us a while to get to this moment, but it was all worth it."