Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:



In Progress

Does Hawaii...
Inventory untested rape kits?
Yes, recurring inventory.
Test backlogged rape kits?
Yes, testing in progress.
Test newly collected rape kits?
Yes, all newly collected kits are being tested.
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
Track rape kits?
Yes, tracking system in process.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
Yes, ongoing.

In 2016, the Hawai‘i Department of the Attorney General completed an inventory and found 1,951 untested rape kits across the state. 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 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 Senator Laura Thielen (D, 25th District) and Representative 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, both chambers of the Hawai‘i legislature adopted a concurrent 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 2018, Hawaii legislators enacted a law mandating deadlines for submission and testing of newly collected rape kits; directing counties to track rape kits in an electronic system; requiring an annual inventory reporting from law enforcement agencies, crime labs, and providers who perform medical forensic exams; granting sexual assault survivors the right to notice regarding the testing status of their rape kits; and allocating funding for rape kit reform. Joyful Heart provided guidance and testimony throughout the drafting and legislative process. With the leadership of co-sponsors Senator Laura Thielen (D, 25th District) and Representative Linda Ichiyama (D, 32nd District), the Hawaii Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Team, Project Mālama Kākou, and the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus, this necessary bill became law. Read Joyful Heart's testimony in support. With this law, Hawai‘i has enacted all six pillars of comprehensive rape kit reform.


  • Additional Information

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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