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What are rape kits?

When someone is sexually assaulted, getting evidence of the crime is crucial. A rape kit is used to collect samples from a victim, clothing, bodily fluids, blood and any other physical evidence from the victim that could lead police to the attacker and be used by prosecutors to secure a conviction.

When rape kits are processed, date not only goes to local investigators, but also into a national database to help find suspects and link cases.

There has been concern that some rape kits have not been analyzed by crimes labs, but the State Attorney's Office says that may not be a problem any more..

Once the information is compiled, Theresa Simak of the State Attorney's Office says it's up to a victim to decide if they want the investigation to move forward.

"They make the decision or not they're going to report to law enforcement. That evidence is still collected so in a couple of years if they a change their minds and really do want to go forward (with prosecution)," Simak said.

Those kits containing that crucial forensic evidence can be held up to two years.  Bottom line, a survivor of sexual assault doesn't have to decide right away to press charges.