Today, the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the New York County District Attorney (DANY) released its request for proposals for the Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Elimination Program, a watershed grant program that will provide $35 million to communities across the country for the analysis of untested rape kits.
Joyful Heart has made ending the rape kit backlog our top advocacy priority. We are proud to serve as a technical advisor to the DANY for the administration of this grant program.
This $35 million funding opportunity is timely. Today, experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in the United States. Hundreds of thousands. But nationwide, reform is happening. Jurisdictions are beginning to conduct evidence audits and process untested rape kits that were never submitted to crime labs for analysis. This $35 million grant program will provide much-needed support to test these kits, bringing the possibility of healing and justice to thousands of survivors.
The DANY Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Elimination Program complements the newly-released $41 million grant program from the federal government that provides funding for reforms like the investigation and prosecution of cases and enhancement of victim services.
We are very grateful to New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance and his team for prioritizing rape kit testing with these funds. With its $35 million investment, the New York District Attorney’s Office will help communities achieve the results that rape kit testing has shown to bring time and time again: safety, justice and healing.
Please click here to learn more about the program, including eligibility requirements, the application deadline, information on upcoming training sessions and more.
Chief Executive Officer
Joyful Heart Foundation
April 1st, 2015