Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:



In Progress

Does Wisconsin...
Inventory untested rape kits?
Yes, a one-time inventory.
Test backlogged rape kits?
Yes, testing in progress.
Test newly collected rape kits?
No, the state has not mandated testing.
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
Track rape kits?
No tracking system exists.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?

In 2014, the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office (AG) conducted a one-time audit and found 6,006 untested rape kits among the 81% of agencies that responded. In 2017, the AG set up a website to track progress in testing backlogged kits; as of October 2017, the website listed 6,391 untested rape kits uncovered to date. Wisconsin law does not require law enforcement agencies to count, track, or test rape kits.

In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Milwaukee to light. Through this request, we uncovered a backlog of 2,655 untested kits (included in the 6,006 reported by the Attorney General) in Milwaukee. 

In 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) a total of $3,999,967 to test 2,500 kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors. In 2016, the BJA awarded the DOJ $1,108,914. In 2017, the BJA awarded the DOJ an additional $2,000,000 to support law enforcement training, test remaining backlogged kits, and develop a statewide evidence management system to track kits going forward.

In 2017, Wisconsin legislators introduced multiple rape kit reform bills, which all failed to pass:

  • A.B. 404, which directs the Legislative Audit Bureau to inventory untested rape kits, assess how the number of untested kits has changed over time, and review the rape kit testing policies and procedures of the DOJ.
  • A.B. 405, which requires law enforcement agencies to report annually regarding the number of kits collected, submitted for testing, and not submitted; the dates of collection, submission, and testing of these kits; and the reasons for which kits were not submitted or not tested. These data must be reported to the DOJ, which will compile and issue an annual statewide audit report to the legislature.
  • A.B. 408, which requires law enforcement agencies to submit all rape kits to the lab within 30 days for storage, testing, or both. The bill also grants survivors of sexual assault the right to have their kits stored for 15 years or the duration of the sentence of the convicted perpetrator of the crime; the right to have their kits transported to the lab within 30 days of collection; and the right to receive oral and written notice of all of their rights at the hospital. 

In 2018, BJA awarded DOJ an additional $1,033,829 to sustain their work. 


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