May 27, 2014 - The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider and vote on its FY15 spending bill for Commerce, Justice, and Science this week. In it, the House includes $36 million to address the rape kit backlog in police storage facilities. This Justice Department allocation provides dedicated funding for competitive grants that will provide communities across the country with the vital resources they need—and are asking for—to support multi-disciplinary community response teams tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive rape kit reform.
This week, MSNBC's Ronan Farrow Daily (1 – 2pm ET) will focus on efforts to end the backlog in segments running from today through Friday. The broadcasts will direct viewers to ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, the Joyful Heart Foundation's website dedicated to shining a light on and ending the rape kit backlog nationwide. ENDTHEBACKLOG.org includes an interactive map displaying everything we know and do not know about where the backlog exists, an extensive media and resource archive of news and reporting about the backlog from across the country, and more.
Today's segment will kick off the week's programming, and feature Sarah Tofte, Joyful Heart's Vice President of Policy & Advocacy and a national expert on the backlog. We cannot know the exact size of the backlog because few jurisdictions count or track their untested kits. Tofte will announce a new project, through a partnership with Goodwin Procter LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, to get more detailed information from local jurisdictions.
Update (May 29, 2014):
Since the week-long segment aired, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the bill, which includes an additional $5 million in an amendment proposed by Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, bringing the total funding for this program to $41 million.
Watch clips from Ronan Farrow Daily:
- May 26, 2014. For press inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENDTHEBACKLOG is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the United States. Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it, expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. We urge you to learn more about the backlog, where it exists and why it matters. We invite you to take action and support efforts to test rape kits. Help us send the message that we must take rape seriously.