BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a bill that would require sexual assault evidence to be preserved for at least 15 years.

Supporters of the new law say it will help women who are dealing with trauma after an assault and may need time before pursuing charges against their attacker.

Previous state law required that rape evidence kits be held for only 6 months unless the victim files a formal report with law enforcement or requests the evidence be held another six months.

Baker, a Republican, signed the bill on Wednesday, saying it will help survivors of sexual assault focus on healing.

Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Creem says women should not be forced to revisit painful events every six months.

The 15-year retention period matches the statute of limitations for rape prosecutions.


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