Lawmakers in Sacramento are working to make it easier for detectives to use rape kits when investigating allegations of sexual assault.  

A bill that would encourage law enforcement to submit a rape kit to a crime lab within five days has made it's way through the California Assembly's Public Safety Committee. Once the rape kit is processed, the information would be entered into a national DNA database. 

The bills author, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, says the practice of leaving these kits on the shelf has to stop.

"So that we demonstrate to survivors of assault that we care, so that we help law enforcement solve crimes, and that we make everyone safer," Skinner said.

Skinner says too often, rape kits get left on the evidence shelf and aren't processed quickly enough to help law enforcement solve crimes involving sexual assaults.

She estimates 400,000 rape kits are waiting to be processed nationally.

 Photo: Nancy Skinner, AP Images