Washington, D.C. — The House of Representatives today approved by voice vote the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2017 (S. 1766), to reauthorize, strengthen, and extend the Sexual Assault Forensic Reporting program to help fight the nationwide rape kit backlog.

The bipartisan, bicameral bill – authored by Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) – reauthorizes the SAFER Act, which was signed into law in 2013.  The SAFER Act provides state and local governments with funding to conduct audits of the untested sexual assault evidence in their possession.  In addition, this legislation ensures both adult and pediatric forensic nurses are eligible for training while highlighting the need for pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners when responding to children who are suffering from child abuse.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s passage of the SAFER Act in the statement below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Victims of rape shouldn’t have to wait years for their perpetrators to come to justice simply because the evidence contained in their rape kit is backlogged. We must do everything we can to expedite the processing of rape kit evidence so that we take these criminals off of our streets and prevent other women from being victimized.  The SAFER Act will help reduce the rape kit backlog while also ensuring forensic nurses receive the important training they need.

“I want to thank Representative Ted Poe for his hard work on this important legislation, and I am pleased it will now be heading to the President for his signature.”