Governor Malloy-Led Rape Kit Reforms Pass State Legislature

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2018
Contact: Melissa Schwartz, media@endthebacklog.org

NEW YORK – The Joyful Heart Foundation today congratulated Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy on the successful passage of SB 17, which mandates development of guidelines for tracking sexual assault evidence kits across the state and expands sexual assault survivors’ rights to know about the status of their kit. First Lady Cathy Malloy and the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence also championed the legislation.

In 2015, the Connecticut Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations completed a one-time survey of law enforcement agencies and found 1,188 untested kits across the state. In the same year, Governor Malloy established a multidisciplinary working group to coordinate the tracking and testing of these kits. The bill, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, builds on this important work.

“Behind every kit is a person—a sexual assault survivor—waiting for justice. This legislation demonstrates Connecticut’s ongoing commitment to offering a path to healing and justice for sexual assault survivors and strengthening public safety for its citizens. Joyful Heart is proud to stand with our partners to champion this important next step in sexual assault kit reform in the state,” said Ilse Knecht, Director of Policy & Advocacy for Joyful Heart.

“Ensuring all stakeholders in the criminal justice process can know the location and status of all newly collected sexual assault evidence kits will bring transparency to evidence kit processing and prevent a backlog from happening again,” Knecht added. “Giving survivors access to information about their kits can help counter the loss of self-determination and control that is often at the core of a sexual assault experience.

Joyful Heart is implementing an ambitious national campaign to pass comprehensive rape kit reform legislation in all 50 states framed around six pillars of reform. When this bill is signed into law, Connecticut will have committed to five of Joyful Heart’s pillars. Learn more about the state’s progress.

Joyful Heart has created the premier national resource about the rape kit backlog, which includes an interactive map and resources for survivors, legislators, and the media. Learn more at: ENDTHEBACKLOG.org.

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The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. www.joyfulheartfoundation.org

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