Does Hawaii law require...
An Audit of Untested Rape Kits?
Yes – One-Time
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?
The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Hawai‘i is unknown. In 2016, the Honolulu Police Department reported it had at least 1,500 untested rape kits. Also in 2016, Hawai‘i enacted a law requiring law enforcement agencies to conduct an inventory of untested rape kits in their possession by September 1, 2016, and report their results to the Attorney General. The Attorney General will then report the results of this statewide audit by December 1, 2016. Hawai‘i law does not require law enforcement agencies to track rape kits.
The 2016 law requires the Attorney General's audit report to include input from community stakeholders about 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. In 2017, law enforcement must adhere to the Attorney General’s plan for testing new kits and, starting in 2018, they must follow the Attorney General’s plan for processing all the untested rape kits in their inventory. 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.
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 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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