Does Hawaii law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Tracking of Rape Kits?
Testing of all backlogged rape kits?
Testing of all rape kits in the future?
Victims to be notified of the status of their cases?
Funding for testing kits?
In 2016, the Hawai‘i Department of the Attorney General completed an audit and found 1,951 untested rape kits across the state. Read our testimony about the report. Hawai‘i law does not require law enforcement agencies to track rape kits.
Also in 2016, Hawai‘i enacted a law requiring the Attorney General to collaborate with community stakeholders to release a report that includes a statewide count of untested rape kits, current rape kit testing procedures, guidelines for testing new kits, a plan for processing all the untested kits, survivor notification, the cost of the plan, and potential funding sources. Beginning in 2017, law enforcement must follow the Attorney General’s recommendations for testing new kits and, starting in 2018, they must follow the Attorney General’s recommendations for handling the untested rape kits in their inventory. The Attorney General's report was submitted to the legislature in December 2016. The law also appropriates $500,000 for FY2016-2017 to fund the testing of at least 500 kits by December 1, 2016 and to fund associated victim support services.
Joyful Heart was deeply engaged in advocacy in support of the passage of Hawai‘i’s 2016 audit and testing bill. Joyful Heart representatives testified nine times in support of this legislation, and collaborated closely with legislators, legislative staffers, local advocates, and survivors throughout the legislative process. With the stewardship of Sen. Laura Thielen (D, 25th District) and Rep. Linda Ichiyama (D, 32nd District), who co-sponsored the original legislation, and the unwavering support of the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus, this critical bill became law. Read our testimony in support of the bill.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the Hawai'i Department of the Attorney General $2,000,000 to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors.
In 2017, Hawai‘i legislators introduced a bill that would grant specific notification rights to survivors of sexual assault, including the right to know about the status of their kit and the policies governing kit collection and preservation. The bill would also require that all kits that meet the Attorney General's recommendations be submitted to the lab for testing within 90 days of collection by law enforcement. Additionally, the bill would require the Attorney General to submit an annual summary to legislators regarding the total number of rape kits reported, unsubmitted, untested, and destroyed across all counties in the state. In February 2017, Joyful Heart submitted testimony in support of this bill. Read our testimony.
Legislators also introduced a resolution urging all law enforcement agencies to follow the Attorney General's testing guidelines for rape kits. The resolution also requests that the Attorney General conduct an annual statewide audit of rape kits. Read our letter of support.
In 2014, Joyful Heart became a founding member of Hawai‘i Says NO MORE, a collaboration of individuals, programs, and organizations taking action to raise visibility, create awareness, encourage conversation and break the social stigma surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault in Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i Says NO MORE is guided by a Core Team of non-profits, government, educational institutions, and individuals collaborating to end domestic violence and sexual assault in Hawai‘i.
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