TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two companies that were advertising at-home sexual assault evidence collection kits appear to have stopped selling and marketing the products after widespread objections and threats of legal action.
The PRESERVEkit, which had been sold on Amazon, is listed as currently unavailable. Later, a statement on the website said it will not be selling the product while the company reviews legal concerns.
Florida's attorney general, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and victim advocates are warning victims that evidence collected through the DIY process would most likely not be admissible in a criminal case.
"An assault victim may feel reluctant to reach out for help, but trusting in these do-it-yourself kits does not offer victims the health treatment services they deserve," FDLE commissioner, Rick Swearingen, said. "In addition, the use of these kits would compromise vital evidence necessary to ensure rapists can be identified and arrested. By promptly reporting sexual assaults to the proper authorities, victims can help to not only bring their attackers to justice but to also make sure that the perpetrators can't victimize anyone else."
All Floridians have access to forensic examinations and evidence collection at no charge.
State officials said in addition to the cost, the self-administered-at home sexual assault kits prevent survivors from receiving essential health care and victim advocate services following an assault. The DIY kits also undermine law enforcement and prosecutors' efforts to arrest, charge and convict rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders.
The state of Florida provides options for survivors of sexual assault to provide evidence through licensed medical professionals while remaining anonymous and not immediately pressing charges against the perpetrator. Right now, non-reporting victims can receive medical attention, have evidence collected and properly stored, and reserve the option to report to law enforcement at a later date.