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The Backlog

Tags: from our leadership

Across the country, the rape kit backlog is making headlines. Journalists are uncovering backlogs, jurisdictions are implementing reforms to track and test rape kits and citizens are taking action. In the Media Center, you'll find the latest information about the backlog, including: commentary from the END THE BACKLOG staff and backlog reformers, first-person testimonials from those impacted by the backlog, an archive of news articles, op-eds, investigative reports, legislation and government publications we've identified, and more.

EndTheBacklogMarch 14, 2011

A Well-Deserved Day of Awareness and Expression

One of Endhtebacklog.org’s policy focuses is on ensuring healing and justice for survivors of sexual assault. There’s a lot of people behind this effort and we have tremendous respect for the work of those who help others cope with trauma. This work is not always easy. Today Chris Vargo, Joyful Heart’s New York Manager of Programs shares a bit about vicarious trauma and Joyful Heart’s Heal the Healers program.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 10, 2011

NYCAASA’s 2011 Lydia Martinez Collaboration Awards

The Lydia Martinez Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Awards were presented to five recipients in honor of the late First Grade Detective C. Lydia Martinez, a remarkable Special Victims Detective in New York City. I had the privilege of meeting Lydia and the strength, compassion and light that emanated from her were incredible. On Monday, her colleagues and friends, many of whom filled the room in which we were sitting, spoke about the indelible effect she had on their lives, the lives of the survivors she served and on the city’s collective response to sexual assault by law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates and medical personnel.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 6, 2011

Interview with Linda Fairstein: Part 3

This is last installment of my three-part interview with bestselling crime novelist, former Sex Crimes Unit chief prosecutor of the New York County District Attorney and advocate for rape kit reform, Linda Fairstein.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 6, 2011

Interview with Linda Fairstein: Part 2

They say to write about what you know and Linda Fairstein, the former New York County District Attorney Special Victims Unit Chief Prosecutor certainly knows the subjects that she fills her pages with. In this part of our interview, continued from our post on Friday, Fairstein talks to me about the evolution of the rape kit, what it was like to be prosecuting cases as the science around DNA was beginning to take hold and her thoughts on the backlog of untested rape kits.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 2, 2011

Interview with Linda Fairstein: Part 1

I recently had a chance to sit down with bestselling crime novelist, former Sex Crimes Unit chief prosecutor of the New York County District Attorney and staunch advocate for rape kit reform, Linda Fairstein. Despite her non-stop schedule around the March 1st paperback release of HELL GATE, Linda was able to provide me with a thoroughly fascinating account of what it was like to lead the New York County District Attorney Sex Crimes prosecution unit for 26 years, her well-informed thoughts on rape kit reform and insight into how she sits down to write her best-selling novels.

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EndTheBacklogFebruary 27, 2011

America’s Cold-Case Crisis

Charles Courtney, Jr., was arrested in Franklin County, Indiana in September 1996, for the knifepoint rape of his wife, Mary Jane, when she told him she wanted a divorce the night he returned from a trip on his job as a long-distance truck driver. Like defendants in many domestic violence cases, Courtney was offered a plea to a lesser charge of sexual battery. As such, his two-year sentence was far lighter than it would have been had he raped a stranger–a sad truth about many rapists whose victims are partners or acquaintances. That conviction earned the government the right to put Courtney’s genetic profile in the FBI’s convicted-offender databank. He was released from prison on January 4, 1998.

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EndTheBacklogFebruary 6, 2011

Update on the Rape Kit Backlog in Los Angeles

As many of you have heard, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced this week that they have ended their “historic” rape kit backlog of 6,132 kits, resulting in at least 300 new arrests. This is a significant milestone in the work to reform rape kit testing in Los Angeles city.

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EndTheBacklogSeptember 25, 2010

Thank you for turning towards this issue.

My name is Maile Zambuto and I am the Executive Director of the Joyful Heart Foundation. Joyful Heart’s mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and the shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. One of the issues we have been working on in recent years – in collaboration with an incredible array of advocates and public officials – is the elimination of the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States.

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