Massachusetts

Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:

Unknown

Testing:

Unknown

Does Massachusetts...
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?
Yes.
Track rape kits?
Yes, tracking system in process.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
No.

The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Massachusetts is unknown. In 2018, Massachusetts legislators enacted a law mandating an annual, statewide inventory of rape kits, the timely testing of newly collected rape kits, and the submission and testing of all backlogged kits; establishing a statewide tracking system for kits; and granting victims the right to know the testing status of their rape kits. Read Joyful Heart's letter of support. Legislators also introduced a bill to develop statewide protocols for handling rape kits, including transporting kits directly from hospitals to labs. This bill remains pending.

In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Boston to light. Boston Police Department (BPD) stated that all kits received are submitted to the BPD crime lab for testing, although testing may be halted upon officer request (if, for instance, a survivor is deemed “uncooperative.”) Although BPD indicated they received 882 rape kits into evidence between 2009 and 2013, it is unclear how many of these kits were halted after being submitted to the lab.

In 2015, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) requested reports from the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) crime lab and police agencies about the number of untested rape kits in their inventory. Only 75 of 351 municipal police departments and the MSP lab submitted reports, and 83% of the police departments that submitted reports reported zero untested kits in their inventory. The ten largest police departments in Massachusetts either did not submit reports or reported zero untested kits in the audit.

In 2016, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring hospitals to notify survivors that, regardless of whether or not they choose to report the crime, their rape kits will be preserved for 15 years. The law also requires all government entities to preserve kits for the duration of the statute of limitations or at least 15 years.

TAKE ACTION TODAY TO BRING RAPE KIT REFORM TO MASSACHUSETTS

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