USA TODAY, Gannett and TEGNA TV have just released the results of a sweeping investigation on the scope of the rape kit backlog: more than 70,000 untested rape kits—each collected in the aftermath of a sexual assault— confirmed across 1,000+ police departments throughout the country. Like The Accountability Project, Joyful Heart's own initiative to uncover the extent of the rape kit backlog in cities throughout the United States, the data were obtained through public records requests.
Today, we have a larger and more focused picture of the backlog than we've ever had before.
It's due to investigations like this one and the work of journalists across the country—many who have sought the information and expertise of Joyful Heart's ENDTHEBACKLOG team in their reporting. It's because of the criminal justice professionals, law enforcement and lawmakers who have recognized the need to end the backlog in their communities in order to make them safer and bring the possibility of healing and justice to survivors. It's because of the survivors who have bravely shared their stories and sought reforms so that what happened to them doesn't have to happen to anyone else.
And it's also due to our own efforts, our partners and you. Together, we're uncovering the extent of the backlog, sharing critical information and leveraging our voices to demand action.