New Jersey’s Attorney General has ordered law enforcement and county prosecutors to retain sexual assault evidence for a substantially longer period of time.
Sexual assault evidence in New Jersey was held for 90 days, but the new edict says that forensic evidence obtained from rape victims will be kept for at least five years. Acting Attorney General John Hoffman stated that the change in policy was designed to give victims more time to decide whether they want to participate in criminal investigations or prosecutions.
Sexual assault victims rights groups lauded the decision. Patricia Teffenhart, the executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said, “Ninety days does not give survivors an opportunity to process what has happened to them. This [extension] gives survivors a chance to work through the healing process.”