Massachusetts

Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:

Unknown

Testing:

Unknown

Does Massachusetts...
Inventory untested rape kits?
Yes, recurring inventory.
Test backlogged rape kits?
Yes, testing in progress.
Test newly collected rape kits?
Yes, all newly collected kits are being tested.
Grant victims rights to notice and be informed?
Yes.
Track rape kits?
Yes, tracking system in process.
Appropriate funding for rape kit reform?
Yes, one-time.

The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in Massachusetts is unknown. 

In 2014, The Accountability Project issued an open records request to bring the number of untested kits in Boston to light. Boston Police Department (BPD) stated that all kits received are submitted to the BPD crime lab for testing, although testing may be halted upon officer request (if, for instance, a survivor is deemed “uncooperative.”) Although BPD indicated they received 882 rape kits into evidence between 2009 and 2013, it is unclear how many of these kits were halted after being submitted to the lab.

In 2015, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) requested reports from the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) crime lab and police agencies about the number of untested rape kits in their inventory. Only 75 of 351 municipal police departments and the MSP lab submitted reports, and 83% of the police departments that submitted reports reported zero untested kits in their inventory. The ten largest police departments in Massachusetts either did not submit reports or reported zero untested kits in the audit.

In 2016, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring hospitals to notify survivors that, regardless of whether or not they choose to report the crime, their rape kits will be preserved for 15 years. The law also requires all government entities to preserve kits for the duration of the statute of limitations or at least 15 years.

In 2018, Massachusetts legislators enacted a law mandating a statewide inventory of untested rape kits with a report due annually on or before September 1st, the timely testing of newly collected rape kits, and the submission and testing of all backlogged kits; establishing a statewide tracking system for kits; and granting victims the right to know the testing status of their rape kits. Read Joyful Heart's letter of support.

Also in 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security $2 million to test kits, investigate and prosecute cases, and re-engage survivors in the criminal justice system. 

In 2019, Massachusetts legislators enacted a supplemental budget containing $8 million to fund rape kit reforms passed in 2018. With this bill, Massachusetts has enacted all six pillars of comprehensive rape kit reform

URGE CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR MASSACHUSETTS SURVIVORS

keep up with backlog news

END THE BACKLOG is a JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION initiative and a proud supporter of