Endthebacklog.org is an effort created by the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on the existence of the rape kit backlog across the United States. The site is designed to serve as an educational platform for those who wish to educate themselves about the backlog and efforts that are being made across the country to eradicate it.
Joyful Heart is seeking justice for survivors by working in partnership with government, non profits, advocates and survivors to bring attention, funding and new legislation to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits across the country.
We are confident that the collective energy of committed organizations and dedicated individuals will put an end to the backlog and begin to deliver a sense of justice to survivors.
Our goals are to:
- Provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the training, tools and resources they need to investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases.
- Provide our inundated crime labs with funding to build the capacity that will enable them to prevent backlogs.
- Encourage law enforcement, after a victim has given her consent, to send in rape kits for testing. Findings in a 2007 study by the National Institute of Justice revealed that one in five unsolved rape cases involved forensic evidence that had never been sent to a forensic laboratory for processing.
- Provide better technology to document the number of rape kits police and crime lab storage facilities across the country. The same 2007 study revealed that less than half of law enforcement agencies have information systems capable of tracking forensic evidence.
- Provide resources and training for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, whose expertise and compassion are essential to ensuring the strongest sexual assault response from hospitals.
- Enact stronger oversight of our grant programs meant to eliminate the rape kit backlog.
- Engage in public awareness and education efforts to address attitudes and bias about rape victims.
- Keep the victim at the center of any reforms. That means creating systems whereby victims can receive information about the status of their case; creating programs to help with victim notification of rape kit results and testing decisions; providing short-term and long-term supportive services to victims at the local level; and ensuring that policy decisions incorporate the needs and concerns of culturally specific community groups.
We want to honor and acknowledge the countless organizations and individuals who have advocated on this issue for many years. Our hope is to provide a platform for even greater awareness of the backlog and the incredible work being done in this field.