CHICO, Calif. -

Three Butte County hospitals are now part of a program that could dramatically shorten the path to justice for victims of sexual assault.
    
 It's called RADS, or Rapid DNA Service.
    
The new program is designed to dramatically reduce the time it takes to process DNA from victims of sexual crimes.
   
Butte is the eighth county in the state to adopt this new program.
    
It's in effect at Enloe Medical Center, Oroville Hospital, and Feather River Hospital.
     
Under the program, a nurse will take three samples most likely to contain a suspect's DNA, and send them directly to Department of Justice to be analyzed.
     
Normally, a rape kit is sent to the investigating law enforcement agency which would then determine whether it should be tested.
     
The results are put into a national database of all convicted felons.
     
If there's a match, law enforcement and the district attorney's office will be notified.

"It's very helpful," said Jacqueline Winters-Hall, a sexual assault nurse examiner.  "It'll give our patients resolution instead of the 18 months-to-never for having the full kit processed, our patients will have their DNA looked at within 15 business days."

This year, there have been 40 sexual assault cases evaluated in Butte County.   Last year, there were 60.

Experts believe that this new program will help people to come forward if they have been sexually assaulted.